Song of the Swallows
by Leo Politi/ published 1949 by Charles Scribner's Sons
A true artist in every sense of the word, Leo Politi's paintings are whimsical, but still relay a vast, deepness of the soul. Born of Italian descent in California, Leo was so enamored with the Mexican culture surrounding him that he spent his career illustrating its folklore. This Caledecott Medal winner is about a little boy named Juan who falls in the love with the birds that visit his neighborhood mission every spring. I'm huge on books that link kids to nature, and Song of the Swallows is very cosmic in the connection that Juan shares with the small, feathered creatures.
That night when Juan looked out of his window,
he saw the two swallows asleep on the rose vine.
There were so near that he could feel the throbbing
of life through their little bodies. He loved them,
for they were two dear friends who had come to live
close to him for a long while.
Of course, the end of this one brought me to tears the first time I read it to my son, but, you know, when a kid's book evokes that childhood sense of wonder for me, then I know it's doing its job effectively for the little reader as well. Bravo man!
Three Stalks of Corn