Thursday, January 6, 2011

Mocking the Caldecott

With the big awards ceremony just around the corner, it is time to dust off the old blog. Those of you familiar with this blogger’s obsessions will not question which awards ceremony I am referring to. I care very little for The Oscars, The Nobels, or Cub Scout Bridging Ceremonies (although there was a time when those little scarf-wearers figured prominently in my life). Naturally what I am referring to are the ALA Youth Media Awards, more specifically the Newbery, the Caldecott, and many other fine and fancy awards. See the full list here. This Monday, January 10, 2011, a year’s worth of reading and analyzing will come to its final conclusion.

In the next few days I hope to make a few predictions, and talk a little about our School’s Newbery Club. Today however it is long past due for me to post the results of what I hope will be a continuing tradition at our school:

Snow Horse Elementary's first annual Mock Caldecott

Known to its closest friends as

The Snowdecott

A few weeks ago I gave a few preliminary lessons leading up to the event on methods of, and quality of illustration. As much as possible I tried to make the students familiar with the books we would be reviewing, because I knew the day of would be too time-crunched to read each book. I chose 10 likely suspects from the 2010 crop of picture books. I made ballots listing each title. As each class, 1st grade through 6th, came for their weekly 30 minute library visits, I laid out the procedure. They would be put into 10 small groups of 2 to 3, and in a few classes 4 (this is Utah after all). They would get about one and a half minutes with each book. When the timer went off they would move to the next table. Once they had rotated through each book they were told to pick up a ballot and rank their top 3 titles. Every first place vote would garner 3 points, reversing on down. At the end of the week, with my crack accounting team of 6th grade assistants, (AKA the Bookends), the results were tallied and the Medalist and Honors were announced. I know this is far from how the actual committee operates, and for that matter far from how most legit Mocks roll. But with over 650 students in 24 classes to process, this is the best procedure I was able to adapt.

Without further blah, blah, blah here is how it all went down:

Fist the 10 nominees:

  1. Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown
  2. Ubiquitous by Joyce Sidman, iillustrated by Beckie Prange
  3. Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile
  4. Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems
  5. The Garbage Barge! by Jonah Winter, Illustrated by Red Nose Studio
  6. The Boys by Jeff Newman
  7. City Dog, County Frog by Mo Willems, Illustrated by Jon Muth
  8. Art & Max by David Wiesner
  9. Flora's Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall, illustrated by Matt Phelan
  10. A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Christian Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead

The enthusiasm was palpable:

I couldn't get a still shot of this guy.  I don't think he was aware his feet were off the ground.

The results: There was a clear winner by over 100 votes, but the two honor books shared a mere 20 point spread.

The 2010 Snowdecott Honors go to.

Knuffle Bunny Free written and illustrated by Mo Willems

City Dog, Country Frog written by Mo Willems and illustrated by Jon Muth (What can I say we love our Mo in these parts.)

Your 2010 Snowdecott is:

Art and Max written and illustrated by David Wiesner


  1. Wow! Great times! Wonderful list of finalists. Adorable pix! Congratulations!


  2. It looks like the kids are having a great time! I'm looking forward to reading some of these books with my daughter. Thanks for sharing the list!