1948 Caldecott Honor: Roger and the Fox
By Lavinia R. Davis Pictures by Hildegard Woodward
(1898 - 1972)
A major American artist of the illustrated book, Hildegard Woodward first studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and then completed her education in Paris, France. Upon her return to America she was introduced to the book arts by the Boston illustrator, Marguerite Davis. Woodward completed her first illustrated children’s book in 1931, Alice Dagliesh’s, The Blue Teapot: Sandy Cove Stories.
Several years later Hildegard Woodward moved to New York City and was in constant demand for her illustrations from publishers there. She illustrated many more books by authors such as Elizabeth Coatsworth, Alice Dagliesh and Julia Bristol Bischoff. Woodward also received Caldecott Honor Book Citations for Roger and the Fox (1947) and The Wild Birthday Cake (1949), both written by Lavinia Riker Davis. Finally, Hildegard Woodward both authored and illustrated several books, the most notable being, Time Was (1941) and The House on Grandfather’s Hill (1961).
A young boy named Roger, is on the hunt to see a wild Fox. Roger recently moved from the city to the farm and enjoys the wildlife and adventures he finds in the countryside. He has learned from Seth, an older man who works on the farm. Seth has taught Roger to stand still and be quite in order to see wildlife. Roger uses these skills one day to see a chipmunk and when he tells Seth what he saw, Seth shares that he saw a Fox. Roger then is eager to see the same Fox. Roger has many tries to see the fox yet they are all unsuccessful. Does he win in the end? Read to find out.
Hildegard Woodward worked with paints. I am not sure if that is the medium used in this book. I would not have guessed Paints first, but then again I am so far from being an expert. The illustrations appear to have more pencil work in them to me. I see lines to portray tall grass in the woods. I see clear edged leaves. Anyhow they are great illustrations.
The effect they have on me? The illustrations fill the pages. The text is not part of the pictures but rather laid on top of. There is white space behind the text. The colors are few, grey and white for the most part with orange, red, and blue sprinkled through out the pictures.
My favorite picture was when Roger arrives at his front door, on skies! His mother opens the door and you can just feel the snow and cold wind blow thru the open door. The picture shows so much movement. Mothers skirt is flying like crazy, she is standing on tip toe because of the rush of cold.