Written & Illustrated by: David Macaulay
Published in 1990
Caldecott Medal Book
Genre: Picture Book
Grade Level: K-3
Summary: Black and White tells the story of… no wait… It tells four stories… no, that’s not right either… It tells… two stories? Hmm…. This book tells the stories of two families, in four separate parts, that are all connected by newspapers and cows to make one story. And it only makes sense if you read it!
This was… a weird book. Each set of facing pages had four panels, each telling a different, but connected story. The story in the upper left-hand corner was about a little boy traveling by train on his way home. The bottom left-hand corner told the story of two children whose parents came home acting crazy and dancing around covered in newspaper outfits. The top right-hand corner tells the story of a group of people waiting at a train station. The bottom right-hand corner talks about cows getting out of their field.
Believe it or not, all of these stories are connected. The cows block the train from the top two stories. The people at the train station get bored waiting and turn their newspapers into crazy outfits and confetti. The little boy on the train thinks the confetti is snow, until he looks at it closely. The parents from the bottom left-hand story come home from that train station with their newspaper outfits.
As much fun as this story was, I was very confused until I got to the last couple pages. You really have to pay attention to what is happening in all of the stories to see the connections. The illustrations are just as important as the text, and without studying both you will have no idea what is happening. I didn’t love the illustrations, but they worked well with how the story was set up.
Final Thoughts: I really enjoyed the way this book was set up. I was confused, but it was a really interesting experience. I couldn’t use this book as a read aloud, but I would be interested in having it in my classroom library. While it is an entertaining book, I’m not sure that all students would enjoy or understand it, so I have to take away points for that.
I give Black and White 4 stars.