Black and White

black and white book david macaulay

Winner of the 1991 Caldecott Medal 

Four stories are told simultaneously, with each double-page spread divided into quadrants. The stories do not necessarily take place at the same moment in time, but are they really one story?---from the publisher

32 pages                              978-0395521519                      Ages 4-7

Keywords:  puzzle, trains, cows, family, parents, boys and men, 4 year old, 5 year old, 6 year old, 7 year old, Caldecott Medal


"Commuters are waiting for a train. A boy is waiting for his parents. Another boy is waiting for his train ride to end. The train is waiting for some cows to get off the tracks so it can be on its way.

The problem for most readers is, I think, that each part of the story does not proceed in an expected way. Instead it is like seeing a number of images and being given the task of tying them all together so that there is an understandable conclusion.

The fun in this book is in trying to find ways to tie all the stories together. I think most children can do it. I think most adults can't until they realize the book does not tell its stories in a traditional way.

Again, it's like giving your child a handful of pictures and asking the child to find ways the pictures are alike."--- from Robb Geweniger on Goodreads


"This is an incredibly intricate and complicated story about four different things-- a train, a boy, his parents, and cows. But there is an overarching story that connects them altogether in a very subtle way that really shows what picture books are capable of doing. Summary: Impatient commuter wait for a train. A boy attempts to communicate with his parents. Commuters wait for a delayed train. And holstein cows, notoriously hard to see in the field, block a train. Characters: Boy: An imaginative boy who has trouble communicating with his parents. Parents: Odd, prone to weird sayings and ignoring their kid. Cows: Hard to see in the field, hiding a deeper truth (or character, as it were). Commuters: Waiting for a delayed train, they become increasingly frustrated. Key issues: Story arcs, interaction of image and words, communication. Other important ideas: This is an excellent way to introduce themes, as a theme is what makes this story have one larger plot."---from Josh Stoll on Goodreads

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