The greatest illustrator(s) never to win the Caldecott

Cece and I were talking about this last night and the main person on our minds was James Marshall.
Geez, he’s the master. Why didn’t he ever get a Caldecott? As far as I know he got just one Honor, for Goldilocks.
I don’t want to go through year by year and say, “Yummers should have won and not BLANK.” But somewhere along the line, Marshall should have gotten it.  But part of his God-like powers was making his illustrations look like scribbled doodles and thus it’s easy to overlook the difficulty level of putting pictures to words so perfectly. There are a million decisions to make when deciding what to put on which page and how much to show of this or that etc…. And Marshall made the right decisions.
Next up, is the great master himself: N.C. Wyeth.
We tend to think of Wyeth’s “Treasure Island,” but that couldn’t have won since it came out long before the Caldecott’s started.
But Wyeth was still illustrating in 1938 when the awards began and he illustrated a 1940 “Anthology of Children’s Literature.” Maybe the Caldecott rules don’t allow collection of old stories, I don’t know…
(I can’t find any of these images online, but I’m looking at two in my copy of Kate Jenning’s “N.C. Wyeth.”)
Unfortunately, his Pilgrim paintings from the early 40s weren’t originally book illustrations, though they have since been put into kid’s book format.
Dr. Suess. He did land some Honors, but where’s the man’s medal? Surely, I don’t need to expound on this….
Who else? Well, one could name any number of favorite illustrators who never go the award. Here are some that stick out in my mind:
Cece thought of William Joyce. His “Leafmen” book especially seems like it should have won. Beautiful pictures, deep subject matter.
Ellen Raskin is one of my favorites. Maybe the Caldecott committee couldn’t remember the title of “Who said who said Sue.”
Hilary Knight. If not for Eloise, then for Wallace!
Grace Lin has been overlooked before, but maybe next season…
Same goes for other active young illustrators who haven’t “not won” yet.
And, lastly, even though the Provensens did win, I think they should have won for: Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm, Shaker Lane and A Peacable Kingdom and …..


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