Debatables: Frith Fails!

It’s official: despite Michael Frith achieving a kind of Muppety perfection in The Perils of Penelope, the Debatables commenters decided that Barbara McClintock is more deserving of the coveted Caldecott Medal.

Normally, I’d deliver a “FOR SHAME!” to those who voted against my pick, but I can’t muster it, because McClintock is very much deserving of the honor.


On a sort-of related note… illustrators are awesome, aren’t they?

Below are three of my all-time favorites:

Elizabeth Zechel!


Claire Almon!


And David Gardner!

I’m sure you have a few favorites, too.

So do me a favor. If you see some picture books that make you say “Yowza!”, don’t sit by passively and hope the illustrators will get Caldecotts.

Seek them out. Give them your love. Let them know that their artistic efforts left an impression.

Because, let’s face it, a great illustrator deserves all the kudos he or she can handle.


17 Replies to “Debatables: Frith Fails!”

  1. Sorry you didn’t win the debate, Mike, but three cheers for illustrators! Yours are wonderful. I have some old old books that I’ve kept from childhood because the pictures are so beautiful. (I don’t let my poor grandson take them home because they’re mine, all mine. Ha ha).

      1. I also hold on to the beautiful illustrated kids books that my kids and my grandkids love. Hey, we get to teach them how to take care of a book (lovingly) and to appreciate amazing art as well as a good story.

  2. Oh, Mike, there are SO many talented illustrators and awards–though they do have their place–tend to rub me the wrong way because countless illustrators “get the shaft” *sigh*

    Anyway, you may already know this, but Michael Frith also illustrators some books for Dr. Seuss a.k.a. Rosetta Stone 🙂 Yep! In fact, during the height of Seuss being (very wrongfully) accused of being racist, Seuss was also very wrongfully cited for an illustration classified as racist (not!) over an absurd “skin vs. animal coloring” issue in BECAUSE A LITTLE BUG WENT KA-CHOO! which was actually illustrated by Frith. He’s been around for a long time! 🙂

  3. One of these days I’ll write a post about Shelley Steinle, “my” illustrator, as well, Mike (Birds of Paradise and Molly Finds Her Purr). I appreciate the artistry of illustrators so much that I went against the grain and chose my own illustrator (most publishing companies like to tell us which one they want for our story). Not only that, I share royalties with my illustrator. It’s not how it’s “supposed to be done,” but Shelley and I love our collaboration.

  4. P.S. and on a different subject, several writers have suggested you could draw an amazing doodle on this quote from acflory : “There should be a cartoon that goes with …’haggard author attacking a brick wall with a toothpick’!”

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