Posts Tagged ‘Marla Frazee’

All the World
by Liz Garton Scanlon; illus. by Marla Frazee
Beach Lane Books, 2009
Source: public library

I put All the World to the test earlier this week. After explaining that it just received a Caldecott Honor (or, as my students call it, “the silver medal”) I read it aloud to my Pre-K class. They spent a few minutes thinking about the story and illustrations, and then all agreed that it did deserve an award. A few even felt that it should have received the Caldecott Medal (“the gold award”) instead of The Lion and the Mouse. (I disagree, but I kept that to myself!)

All the World is definitely Caldecott Honor-worthy. Marla Frazee’s illustrations flow with Liz Garton Scanlon’s text, moving back and forth between snapshots focusing on individual people, events and/or objects to larger, full-page illustrations, placing these bits within the context of “all the world.” The text is rhythmic, (making it a perfect read-aloud), and packs a great deal of detail into very few words. My favorite phrase by far is “noon-blue” (from the line, “Morning sun becomes noon-blue”). “Noon-blue” encapsulates that time of day so perfectly.

While I do love the illustrations and the poetic nature of the story, what keeps me from leaping up and down with excitement is the ending. Scanlon kinda blows it here. Up until this point she had assumed some intelligence on the part of the reader, never over-explaining or beating the reader over the head with her message. She inexplicably switches tactics, however, after the line, “All the world is you and me.” In spelling out, “Everything you hear, smell, see/All the world is everything/Everything is you and me,” Scanlon dumbs down her text, simplifiying an otherwise intricate story. A common mistake in children’s literature, unfortunately.

Overall, a beautiful book, and with illustrations that nearly make up for the flawed ending. Worth reading.

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The Lion & the Mouse won! My students were so excited they actually started cheering when I told them! I’m completely thrilled, too. I cannot think of a single book more deserving of this award. Congratulations, Jerry Pinkney.

The ALSC selected two Honor books this year: All the World (illustrated by Marla Frazee) and Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors (illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski). I haven’t read either one of them, but I’ve already requested them from the library so my students and I can discuss them!

Check out the ALA’s website for reviews of these books, as well as links to the other awards announced today (like the Newbery). I haven’t read any of this year’s Newbery winners, but they’re going on the to-read list, of course!

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