I just tracked down two more Caldecott front-runners: Wabi Sabi (Mark Reibstein/Ed Young) and Wonder Bear (Tao Nyeu). And I was surprised: Wabi Sabi didn't win my vote. I think the illustrations are great--some of them are terrific, especially one that combines a collage with a photo of pine needles--but I didn't find that marriage of art and text that seems to be important. The text is so different in tone that it almost seems like it belongs to a different book. I'll understand if Wabi Sabi does win, but I think the other contenders are stronger.
Wonder Bear, on the other hand, is terrific--or so I thought. I have a new fondness for wordless picture books, and I could read this one over and over. The drawings are lovely, and the story is beautifully complete. Check this one out.
I'm also now in the middle of Tender Morsels, a serious Printz contender, and I'm in favor. It's definitely got an edge to it, and from what I've seen, the Printz committees celebrate edge.