Monday, February 04, 2008

Rethinking the Picture Book

2008 Caldecott Medal Winner
Brian Selznick's The Invention of Hugo Cabret (Scholastic) won the Caldecott medal late last month, much to the surprise of many who know their way around a picture book. The book weighs in at a hefty 533 pages (very unusual for a picture book); is a novel (first novel to win the Caldecott); and is not a book for 4 and 5 year-olds (the usual picture book audience).

This being said, Hugo Cabret uses pictures in a highly inventive and carefully-crafted way to convey the story of a boy in a 1930's vintage Paris train station and his friendship with a very mysterious toymaker. The detailed drawings are spectacular and add layer after layer to the entertaining and well-written story.

About the Caldecott
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.