Awards: Caldecott Honor (1953)
Sal has discovered a loose tooth on the day she is planning to go with her father and younger sister, Jane, across to Buck’s Harbour in their little boat. Her mother explains that she can make a wish on her tooth once it comes out, but she mustn’t tell anyone or the wish won’t come true. Sal tries to make sense of her experience by wondering if various island animals even have teeth, and if so, do they lose them? The themes of a young girl having her first loose tooth, enjoying nature, and resilience in the face of disappointment are woven into Sal’s day. Resilience is expressed both through Sal keeping her chin up after losing her tooth and her wish, and when the outboard motor failed and the father needed to row across Buck’s Harbour. Sal transfers these tools her parents taught her by helping Jane overcome her own disappointment of not getting a second ice cream cone.
McCloskey’s book is a long one, ending on page 64. The illustrations are big double-spread lithographs printed in dark blue that reinforce the text and establish the setting on an idyllic island in Maine. The pictures are drawn simply yet vividly with charming details everywhere such as glass milk bottles and the kitty busy drinking milk that spilt on the floor while everybody else is too busy to notice. A simpler time when worries seemed far away is certainly reflected throughout One Morning in Maine.