The 2013 Randolph Caldecott Medal Winner: Jon KlassenJon Klassen, author and illustrator of This Is Not My Hat, is the 2013 Randolph Caldecott Medal winner. Another picture book he illustrated, Extra Yarn, has been named a 2013 Caldecott Honor Book. Caldecott Chair Sandra Imdieke cited "Klassen's masterful illustrations [that] tell the story the narrator doesn’t know.”
To learn more about this dark and humorous story with just two characters, a big fish and a little fish, see my summary of This Is Not My Hat. I recommend the book for ages 4 to 8. If your children loved Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back, they'll be especially delighted to find a new story by Klassen in a similar style and tone.
(Candlewick Press, 2012. ISBN: 9780763655990). Compare prices.
The 2013 Caldecott Honor BooksCreepy Carrots!, illustrated by Peter Brown and written by Aaron Reynolds
Who knew that carrots could be scary, but not too scary? This entertaining story by Aaron Reynolds features Peter Brown's black-bordered pencil drawings with digital additions, including some color. The publisher recommends Creepy Carrots! for children in preschool to third grade.
(Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, 2012. ISBN: 9781442402973)
Extra Yarn, illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett
A drab town is transformed when a little girl finds a magical box of multicolored yarn. Starting by knitting a sweater, the little girl covers the people and the town with her knitting and even a greedy archduke who wants the magical yarn is unable to stop her. This is an entertaining story. My only disappointment was that I felt the yarn colors should have been stronger and brighter. I know many have praised the subtle colors, but I felt they were not vibrant enough to fully express the joy of a town and its people transformed. This is a good book to share with children 4 to 8 years old.
(Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2012. ISBN: 9780061953385)
Green, illustrated and written by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Young children will enjoy not only the illustrations but the simple, soothing rhyming text. While the publisher recommends Green for ages 2 to 6, I think children of all ages will be intrigued by Seeger's rich paintings, with their strong textures and shading and with the die cuts and the different effects the same portion of an illustration creates on different pages.
(Neal Porter Books, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, 2012. ISBN: 9781596433977)
One Cool Friend, illustrated by David Small, written by Toni Buzzeo
What child hasn't at one time or another wanted a wild animal for a pet? How about a penguin? It's definitely a cool friend for a little boy whose father is too busy to see what his son is doing. The publisher recommends One Cool Friend for ages 5 to 8.
(Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2012. ISBN: 9780803734135)
Sleep Like a Tiger, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski and written by Mary Logue
A simple bedtime story about a little girl who doesn't want to go to sleep and asks her parents whether everything goes to sleep becomes much more because of the illustrations. Pamela Zagarenski's fascinating illustrations are composed of mixed media paintings that are done on wood and computer illustration. Each page includes intriguing details. For example, the parents are dressed in gold-trimmed robes and wear crowns on their heads. The little girl also wears a crown. Are they a king and queen; is the little girl a princess? The illustrations of animals as the little girl and her parents discuss their sleeping habits and, later, as the little girl imitates them, are terrific. I recommend this delightful bedtime story for ages 3 to 6.
(Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, 2012. ISBN: 9780547641027)
For more excellent illustrated children’s books published in 2012, see my personal list of the Best Illustrated Children’s Books of 2012.