Always Room for One More Illustrated by 1966 Caldecott Medalist Nonny Hogrogian Melissa McDonald LBSC645
Always Room for One More, by Sorche Nic Leodhas and illustrated by Nonny Hogrogian, was published in 1965 and was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1966.
I chose to
analyze this book for two reasons – first because it was awarded the Caldecott Medal the year I was born, and second, because my home is like this one – everyone, people and pets – are welcome – and sometimes it feels as though my house will collapse with the noise and chaos! The text was inspired by an old Scottish folk song that was preserved and handed down by oral tradition. “There was a little house in the heather - / „Twas a bit o‟ a but and a ben - / and in it there lived all together / Lachie MacLachlan / and his good wife, / and his bairns to the number ten.” In her Caldecott speech, Hogrogrian indicated the depth to which she researched Scottish tradition – from researching pictures of clothing that Lachie and his friends would have worn, to “staring at the bone structure of a friend who hails from the Highlands,” to “an evening with a Scottish friend pouring over slides of cottages on the isle of South Uist to find one with a but and a ben,” to purchasing Ewan MacCoil records to listen to Scottish songs.
great pride in doing careful research,” and when the author told her that her initial sketches of the Scotsmen were not correct, she was „crushed‟ but was determined not to make that mistake again. As with any Caldecott medalist‟s artwork, Hogrogrian‟s illustrations are inspired and each panel must be viewed many times to absorb its meaning and to fully appreciate its artistic value. The people and the house („a but and a ben‟) were drawn in pen-and-ink line and crosshatch technique. The characters dance and frolic across the pages of the book. They fall with exhaustion when the house collapses and their mood is clearly portrayed in their faces and
bodies. The black of the pen-and-ink sharply contrast the “gray wash for the sky was dabbed on with paper napkins, and the purple heather and green fields were done with pastels.”
beginning of the book, the home and family are far away, as indicated by the size and placement of the home and family in relation to the hill and heather.
As the reader progresses through
the book and more and more people are welcomed into the MacLachlan home, the people are in the forefront and over take the pages, spilling across the center to the opposite side. Although Hogrogian began her career using wood blocks, her lifelong works encompass a variety of mediums, including pen-and-ink, pastels, black- and -white pencil, chalk, charcoal, and watercolors.
Hogrogian is Armenian, and it has been said that “her gorgeous and complex
illustrations show the influence of her Armenian heritage and are praised for their delicacy, beauty, and power.” Hogrogrian has written and illustrated more than 50 books for children in her long and illustrious career. I believe her technique varies greatly between mediums, and it is difficult to describe her style or recognize her work without her name attached. Her 1971 illustrations in About White Men and Simpletons were etchings reproduced in half tones. Carrot Cake, published in 1977, has beautiful floral end pages, and the drawings appear to be done in pastels. One year later, illustrations in I am Eyes – Ni Macho combined charcoal with color pastels. The Kenyan girl is drawn in charcoal on the left panel, and on the right panel, the scenes she sees, in full color, are framed so that they appear to be postcards --- although the child steps on the boarder to peer into the scene, she is never part of the scene . The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs, published in 1986, appears to be drawn in pastels or color pencils. The end-pages are extremely delicate, almost paisley print, with the Devil‟s bristly tail curling around the edge.
The 1966 Caldecott Honor Books, the artwork of Hide and Seek Fog, illustrated by Roger Dovoisin, Just Me illustrated by Marie Hall Ets, and Tom Tit Tot retold and illustrated by 1967 Caldecott Medalist Evaline Ness represent various mediums, and I suspect the members of the selection committee deliberated over which book would take the top award. Hide and Seek Fog, the story of two children who play in the fog in a Cape Cod seaside village, was painted in watercolors and was described by School Library Journal review as being “exquisite” and that the reader could almost feel the dampness of the fog. Just Me, the story of a little boy who mimes the walk of the animals he sees, was illustrated in great detail with black charcoal, but appears to be created with wood cuts. Tom Tit Tot, a version of the Rumpelstiltsken folk tale was illustrated in earthy tones with wood cuts. Looking through the lens of the Terms and Criteria of the Caldecott Medal, Always Room for One More “exemplifies the excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed” – each person that comes to the house has distinct characteristics, facial expressions, and clothing despite the fact that she uses only pen-and-ink lines and cross-hatch to create the people. Each stroke is precise and deliberate and must be viewed many times to appreciate the details and to absorb their meaning. The black of the pen-and-ink sharply contrast the “gray wash for the sky was dabbed on with paper napkins, and the purple heather and green fields were done with pastels.” I have read through several reviews of her work, and each reviewer “raved” over her choice of medium for the text … how she instinctively knows which medium will illuminate the text for each book she illustrates.
Specifically with Always Room for One More reviewers
extolled her choice of medium – Ann Durell in Library Journal in 1966 described Hogrogian‟s
combination of text with delicate pen-and-ink cross hashing, watercolor wash, and chalk artwork as “in complete harmony of text and pictures.” She clearly has her audience in the forefront of her mind as she creates her illustrations. Hogrogian herself is quoted in Publisher’s Weekly, shortly after receiving the 1966 Caldecott Medal, as saying “I like the integrity an artist can retain in the field. I like the research that I feel compelled to do. I enjoy the uniqueness of each manuscript, both for itself and for the chance that it gives me to explore new techniques. And possibly the greatest satisfaction comes from taking an active part in enlarging a child‟s world, even a little.” I believe Hogrogian‟s artwork in Always Room for One More was an exemplary choice for the Caldecott Medal in 1966. The techniques she used to create the illustrations was deliberate and not without careful research, planning, and execution. For her to add such detail in the cross-hashed parts – to show such personality, emotion, and movement in her characters (and even in the house and horse and cart!) required great sensitivity and artistic talent.
been a member of the 1966 Caldecott selection committee, I would have surely chosen Always Room for One More as the Caldecott Medalist.
Always room for one more. (1975). In L. Kingman (Ed.), Newbery and Caldecott medal books 1966-1975 (pp.178-185). Boston: Horn Book. Durell, Ann. "Nonny Hogrogian." Library Journal 91.6 (15 Mar. 1966): 1594-1595. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Allison Marion. Vol. 95. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Feb. 2012. Ets, M. H. (1965). Just Me. New York: Viking Hogrogian, Nonny. "The Story Sets the Pace: An Illustrator's View of Design." Publishers Weekly 189.8 (21 Jan. 1966): 100-103. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Allison Marion. Vol. 95. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Feb. 2012. Hogrogian, N. (1977). Carrot Cake. New York: Greenwillow Books. Hogrogian, N. (1986). Noah’s Ark. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. Hogrogian, N. (1983). The devil with the three golden hairs. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Hogrogian, Nonny. "The Story Sets the Pace: An Illustrator's View of Design." Publishers Weekly 189.8 (21 Jan. 1966): 100-103. Rpt. in Children's Literature Review. Ed. Allison Marion. Vol. 95. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Feb. 2012. “Hogrogian, Nonny 1932-.” Children’s Literature Review. Gale. 2004. Retrieved February 04, 2012 from HighBeam Research: http://highbeam..com/doc/1G2-3419000012.html Leodhas, S. N. (1965). Always room for one more. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Ness, E. (1965). Tom Tit Tot. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons Shub, E. (1971). About wise men and simpletons. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. Tresselt, A. (1965). Hide and Seek Fog. New York: HarperCollins Publishers. Ward, L. (1978). I am eyes - ni macho. New York: Scholastic.