The recipients of two of the most prestigious awards in children's literature were announced on Jan. 7 by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) at the American Library Association's (ALA) midwinter meeting in Washington, D.C. Robin McKinley won the 1985 John Newbery Medal, which recognizes the most distinquished contribution to children's literature the previous year, for her book ``The Hero and the Crown'' (Greenwillow Books, $11.50), a deftly written romantic fantasy set in the mythic kingdon of Damar. Princess Aerin, through courage and determination, overcomes the prejudices of her maternal heritage and gains her birthright. This absorbing story is the ``prequel'' to Ms. McKinley's ``The Blue Sword,'' a previous Newbery honor book.
The 1985 Randolph Caldecott Medal, which recognizes outstanding illustration, was awarded to Trina Schart Hyman for her richly detailed work in ``Saint George and the Dragon'' (Little, Brown & Co., $14.95). Margaret Hodges's retelling of this segment of Edmund Spenser's ``Faerie Queen'' is graceful and fluent.
The Newbery honor books are:
Like Jake and Me (Knopf, $11.95), by Mavis Jukes, a tender story of growing friendship between a young boy and his step-father.
The Moves Make the Man (Harper, $12.95), by Bruce Brooks, a well-written, intense book about friendship between peers.
One-Eyed Cat (Bradbury, $11.95), by Paula Fox, a sensitive story about a young boy who has seriously wounded a neighbor's cat.
The Caldecott honor books are:
Hansel and Gretel (Dodd Mead, $12.95), retold by Rika Lesser. Paul O. Zelinski's vividly detailed illustrations lack the gooey sweetness of many interpretations of this tale and have a haunting, eerie quality about them.
Have You Seen My Duckling? (Greenwillow, $10.50), written and illustrated by Nancy Tafuri, uses simplicity of line, color, and language to develop the suspense of a mother duck's search for a missing duckling.
The Story of Jumping Mouse (Lothrop, $12.50), a native American legend, retold and illustrated with multitextured pencil drawings by John Steptoe.