Module 3 Caldecott Winners
Song and Dance Man
by Karen Ackerman and illustrated by Stephen Gammell
Grandpa dazzles his grandchildren with a rendition of his performance from his past as a song and dance man.
Ackerman, K. (1988). Song and Dance Man. New York: Random House.
My Impressions of the Book
The children are enthralled by their grandfather’s routine, but it is not his talent as a dancer that makes Ackerman’s story special. It is the gentle way he cares for his grandchildren and the tender moment when he assures them that the time he spends with them is more special to him than his time dancing at the Vaudeville stage. Gammell’s artistry creates a dreamlike state as if the grandchildren and readers can see Grandpa on the stage.
Gammell's animated, crisp, colored pencil line drawings enhance this story of Grandpa, who was famous for his vaudeville song and dance. Clever details of his and his grandchildrens' personalities are consciously delineated as he now performs on his attic stage. The shadow and the performer, transformed by his art, complement the text tenderly. The spirit of song and dance are reflected in the careful placement of drawings and text; five times they stretch voluminously across double-page spreads, although the text is always legible. It is also poetic at times. The accurate depiction of old age and the magic of the theater rhythmically combine like a dance with a solid beginning, middle, and end. It offers enchantment for children and for the person of any age who reads it to them. In its entirety, this glimpse into a unique, artistic personality offers a sweet reminder of the joy in the diversity of people, much like Blos' memorable Old Henry (Morrow, 1987). In boldness, realism, and linear strength, the illustrations are reminiscent of Steig's Amos and Boris (Farrar, 1971), which is also about individuality and acceptance. However, the persistence of memory and the acceptance of individuality are sophisticated concepts. The book's only weakness is that it may too often be set aside by adults looking for something easier to digest. -Gratia Banta, Germantown Public Library, Dayton, Ohio
Banta, G. (1989). Song and Dance Man (Book Review) [Review of the book Song and Dance Man, by K. Ackerman]. School Library Journal, 35, 58.
Ideas for Library Use
The Song and Dance Man would be ideal for an activity display. While the story is fun and heartwarming the illustrations are interesting and set the cover apart from others with the color pencil detail.
The Hello, Goodbye Window
by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka
Nanna and Poppy’s granddaughter shares her love for her grandparents as she describes the fun activities she embarks on with her grandparents. Her grandparents are often in the kitchen and she enjoys interacting with them through the window as well. She waves hello and goodbye, plays hide and seek, and checks the weather with them.
Juster, N. (2005). The Hello, Goodbye Window. New York: Michael Di Capua Books/ Hyperion Books for Children
My Impressions of the Book
The Hello, Goodbye Window is just plain fun. It is a reminder of how wonderful each moment with grandparents can be. There is nothing like being chased by your grandfather with the water hose while you beg for mercy, but later plead for more. The granddaughter makes spending time with her grandmother in the garden adventurous when she imagines an alley cat is a tiger. Is is an ode to the little things that make family so precious.
–The window in Nanna and Poppy's kitchen is no ordinary window–it is the place where love and magic happens. It's where the girl and her doting grandparents watch stars, play games, and, most importantly, say hello and goodbye. The first-person text is both simple and sophisticated, conjuring a perfectly child-centered world. Sentences such as "When I get tired I come in and take my nap and nothing happens until I get up" typify the girl's happy, imaginative world. While the language is bouncy and fun, it is the visual interpretation of this sweet story that sings. Using a bright rainbow palette of saturated color, Raschka's impressionistic, mixed-media illustrations portray a loving, mixed-race family. The artwork is at once lively and energetic, without crowding the story or the words on the page; the simple lines and squiggles of color suggest a child's own drawings, but this is the art of a masterful hand. Perfect for lap-sharing, this book will find favor with children and adults alike.–Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR
Reynolds, A. J. (2005). The Hello, Goodbye Window [Review of the book The Hello, Goodbye Window, by N. Juster]. School Library Journal, 174.
Ideas for Library Use
The Hello, Goodbye Window focuses on how special the protagonist’s grandparents are to her. This book would make a great discussion starter for a who is special to you storytime.