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Caldecott Hopefuls: This Moose Belongs to Me

My Caldecott Hopefuls are picture books I like a lot, for various and idiosyncratic reasons, and not necessarily ones I think will win the award (although one can hope). Here's what I love about This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel, 2012): the contrast between the grandeur and solemnity of the landscape backgrounds (many of them reprinted from paintings by 20th century American artist Alexander Dzigurski) and, well, Wilfred and his moose (as seen in the image above, which wraps around the covers of the book). Now that I think of it, this style of illustration--Jeffers's artistic borrowing--is especially appropriate to a story about ownership (see Caldecott criteria 1.c). Does this moose belong to me?

According to the copyright page, "the art for this book was made from a mishmash of oil painting onto old linotype and painted landscapes, and a bit of technical wizardry thrown into the mix here and there." In case you want to try this at home (yes, you do), Oliver Jeffers has helpfully made a video called How to Draw a Moose. We didn't have any landscape paintings lying around, so we drew our moose (meese? mice?) onto pages ripped from old National Geographics instead. Kind of like this:

Except at Macchu Picchu.

Reader Comments (17)

I thought Jeffers was UK - is he eligible? I wonder what the committee will think about the illustrations being a collage with reprints of old paintings. I'm not a fan of Jeffers in general (although I do love a couple of his books) but I can see how gorgeous the art is now that you've gotten me to take another look!

January 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Hi, Jennifer! You're right, Jeffers is from Northern Ireland--but he's a resident of the US (he lives in Brooklyn), so I think that makes him eligible. This is probably my favorite of his books! And I don't even especially like moose.

January 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterAnamaria

Well, whether this book qualifies or not for the Caldecotts, it looks like a beautifully illustrated book.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Baugh

I too love the juxtaposition of epic alpine scenery and little boy+ moose friend. Thanks, I haven't seen this one yet.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoanna

Nice post. My most recent post on my blog is also about this book. It's a review from six-year-old Miriam at http://patzietlowmiller.com/2013/01/10/kid-review-miriam-shares-this-moose-belongs-to-me/

I think there are a lot of good Caldecott contenders this year, and I will very interested in seeing who earns the award and the honors.

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPat Zietlow Miller

This looks tremendously appealing-I must seek it out!

January 11, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercharlotte

I love the art juxtapostion and the humor of it. Must look this one up.

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPen and Ink

Greetings! I'm hopping over from the 2013 Comment Challenge. You have a lovely blog. Here's to a fun and productive 2013!

Donna L Martin

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDonna L Martin

Thanks for this post..I will look for this book. I really enjoy his work and this sounds great.

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSylvia Liu

Wonderful review -- and did you know that the moose that once inhabited Minnesota are disappearing? Some researchers say their population is declining as a result of global warming and weakened immune systems. From the Minneapolis Star Tribune: http://www.startribune.com/local/140169753.html?refer=y

January 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Macklin

This was one of my favorite books from 2012. I really like the contrast between the oil painted backgrounds which evoked the rustic wilderness of fine art paintings and the illustrated characters of the boy and his moose.

January 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStoried Cities

super fun illustration - I'll look for this now.
And thanks as well for being part of the Comment Challenge!

January 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLee Wind

This looks amazing! Thanks for pointing it out.

January 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMadigan

Thanks for your comments, everyone! I hope you like This Moose Belongs to Me--please come back and let me know! In the meantime, I'm looking forward to visiting your blogs, too.

January 13, 2013 | Registered CommenterAnamaria

Oooo....I just got an email that this has arrived for me at my local library. I can't wait to read it now!

January 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Cusolito

What a beautiful cover. Thanks for the moose drawing link.

January 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterStacy Mozer

Oliver Jeffers is one of my favorite illustrators, but somehow I was not aware of this book until I read your post. I work in a library in Maine, so moose books are very popular! Thanks for reviewing it--I will keep an eye out for it for sure.

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