Friends in Books


The Funny Little Woman retold by Arlene Mosel; pictures by Blair Lent (E. P. Dutton).

The funny little woman in this 1973 Caldecott Award book likes to laugh, “Tee-he-he-he,” and make rice dumplings. One day when she runs after a rolling dumpling, she laughs at the wrong moment and is captured by the wicked oni. For a time she enjoys cooking for them with their magic paddle, but soon she becomes lonely and runs away. The wicked oni try to stop her—until they too laugh at the wrong moment!

Hosie’s Alphabet pictures by Leonard Baskin; words by Hosea, Tobias, and Lisa Baskin (Viking).

Here is A Big Colorful alphabet book that is also on the 1973 Caldecott Award honor list. Inside is a furious fly, an electrical jellyfish, and many other fanciful creatures that make learning and reviewing the alphabet fun for everyone.

The Web in the Grass by Berniece Freschet; illustrated by Robert Duvoisin (Charles Scribner’s Sons).

Hiding and waiting in a world filled with enemies, a hungry black spider spins a web to catch a meal. Then she spins a new kind of thread and makes a special sac where she lays her eggs. Soon hundreds of little spiderlings crawl out and are blown on the wind. When these drift down, they too hide and wait and spin beautiful webs just as their mother had done.

When Clay Sings by Byrd Baylor; illustrated by Tom Bahti (Charles Scribner’s Sons).

Ancient Indian pottery sings of the past. In this 1973 Caldecott Award honor book, a perky wide-eyed bird, painted lizards, speckled and spotted bugs, leaping fish, horned toads, and many other designs, each in its own way, sing of a people long ago who loved life. “Now Indian children make a game of searching for bits of clay that were once somebody’s bowl or mug or cooking pot or dipper.”

Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs translated by Randall Jarrell; pictures by Nancy Ekholm Burkert (Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

A beautiful young girl as white as snow finds a home in the forest with seven dwarfs until her jealous stepmother discovers she is still alive. The ending and the unusually lovely detailed illustrations of this 1973 Caldecott Award honor book give a different flavor to a favorite old tale.

Anansi the Spider by Gerald McDermott (Holt, Rinehart and Winston).

When Anansi travels a long way from home and falls into trouble, his six spider sons work together to save him. That night Anansi finds a great globe of light in the forest and decides to give it to the son who rescued him. This colorful 1973 Caldecott Award honor book is based on an African folktale telling how the moon was put in the sky and why it is still there every night.

[illustration] From The Funny Little Woman

[illustration] From Hosie’s Alphabet

[illustration] From The Web in the Grass

[illustration] From When Clay Sings

[illustration] From Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs

[illustration] From Anansi the Spider