Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing

35 min. Dist. By Weston Woods. 2016. $59.95. ISBN 9780545879200.
Gr 3–8—Famed English illustrator Randolph Caldecott started drawing at six years old to express his feelings when his mother died, and he kept drawing until his untimely death at age 39. He became a bank clerk, but when his work became popular at the weekly Illustrated London News, which had 200,000 readers, he found his ticket out of the bank. Artists everywhere "used his strategies for making pictures come to life," including Maurice Sendak. Based on Leonard S. Marcus's book, this DVD uses archival prints and Caldecott's illustrations to trace the history of the inventor of the picture book. In 1938, America honored him by creating the Caldecott Medal for distinguished picture book art on the 100th anniversary of his death. Narrator Gemma Dawson's British accent is initially jarring to American ears, but it is abated by the optional subtitles. Incidental music by Michael Bacon is minimal. Revealing and filled with fascinating facts, this is an ideal choice to prepare students for the announcement of the Caldecott Medal winners each winter.
VERDICT Use this presentation to explain the illustration on the Caldecott Medal to children and to breathe life into the background of a beloved award.

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