Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wonderful Books from the Past: Blueberries for Sal

written and illustrated by Robert McCloskey

Blueberries for Sal is a classic book of little Sal and her mother picking blueberries, while a mother bear and her cub arrive on the other side of the hill to eat blueberries for the winter. Inevitably Sal and the cub get mixed up with the wrong mother after wondering off to eat blueberries. The story takes place on a Maine hillside, which is flourishing with blueberries. As a child, my parents read this book to me countless times, especially during summers on Cape Cod. It reminded me of picking raspberries and blueberries with my grandmother on the Cape. Like Sal, I remember eating the berries rather than putting them in my own bucket. Grannie would remind me to save some for the pie. I think this book is definitely a contributing factor to the comforting feeling of making a blueberry pie.

It is a precious book is filled with simplistic navy and white illustrations of the beautiful New England countryside. In 1949, Robert McCloskey won a Caldecott Honor for Blueberries for Sal; yet, he describes his career in children's books, "sort of an accident."

"I really think up stories in pictures and just fill in between the pictures with a sentence or paragraph or a few pages of words."
-Robert McCloskey
Though unintended, McCloskey was an incredibly talented author and illustrator (or should it be illustrator then author) of children's books. He is also well known for Make Way for Ducklings, which won the 1942 Caldecott Medal and Time for Wonder, which won the 1958 Caldecott Medal. He was the first illustrator to win two Caldecott Medals. His illustrations were heavily influenced by living in New England, particularly his illustrations in Blueberries for Sal and Time of Wonder. I highly recommend reading Blueberries for Sal and other books by Robert McCloskey. Readers of all ages can enjoy his timeless stories and wonderful illustrations.

Check out the Weston Woods video of Blueberries for Sal, which was released in 1967. Weston Woods takes fabulous picture books and produces a video adaptation of the original book. These videos can be found at However, here is a youtube video of Blueberries for Sal:

Happy Reading!

Grace Anne


1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great book and I'm glad that you were able to make a connection to the story, author, and blueberries!