I'm always skeptical of awards - whether it be movies, books, songs, whatever. Generally? Award winners = big time suckage to me.

Today, I was looking through a children's book, Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans, a winner of the distinguished Caldecott Award. I have to admit, the artwork in the book (what looks like mostly pen/ink with watercolor) is fantastic, but the book text? SUCKS.

The book, written in (what is supposed to be) rhyme, starts like this:

In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.
They left the house at half past nine
In two straight lines in rain or shine.
(OK, so far so good...)
The smallest one was Madeline.
She was not afraid of mice.
She loved winter, snow, and ice.
(UH, HUH? Ok, seems random, but whatever...)
To the tiger in the zoo
Madeline just said, "Pooh, pooh!"
(OMG...I've never seen such an attempt just to rhyme! HORRIBLE! ORRIBLE!)

And nobody knew so well
How to frighten Miss Clavel-
Until the day she slipped and fell.
Poor Madeline would now be dead
(UH...HELLLOOOO...children's book!)
But for a dog
that kept his head
and dragged her safe from a watery grave.

Anyway, it goes on to explain how the girls hid the dog in the school with them, got into trouble, and in the end the dog has puppies (And to her surprise she found that suddenly there was enough hound To go all around.)

If you love unique artwork in children's books (as I do), then it might be worth it, but the story leaves a great deal to be desired (you know, unless you are really into scarring your kids for life, then by all means, go forth and buy!).


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