My three second-grade classes looked at a ton of 2009 fiction and nonfiction picture books, and out of all of them, here are the ones they chose as finalists:
A Book by Mordecai Gerstein
Robot Zot by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by David Shannon
The Terrible Plop by Ursula Dubosarsky, illustrated by Andrew Joyner (not eligible for the Caldecott because it was published in Australia)
I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll, illustrated by Howard McWilliam
Dinotrux by Chris Gall
Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld
Higher! Higher! by Leslie Patricelli
Harry and Horsie by Katie Van Camp, illustrated by Lincoln Agnew
The Book That Eats People by John Perry, illustrated by Mark Fearing
Nasreen's Secret School by Jeanette Winter
Alphabeasties and Other Amazing Types by Sharon Werner, illustrated by Sarah Forss
The Goblin and the Empty Chair by Mem Fox, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon
I suspect the quieter titles will lose out to the funnier, more splashy books. The Book That Eats People is written by a local author, so I'm kind of hoping it wins. I'm also very fond of Goblin in the Empty Chair (the mysterious ending is so compelling!) and A Book is fantastic. Robot Zot has been a big favorite, though, and I bet that will prevail.
I have one more week of reading these aloud to two more classes; after that, they will choose their favorites and start debating. I've never done the debate with second grade before, so it'll be interesting to see how they manage it. It'll be pretty scripted: I made a form with room for the title and why they think it should win. We'll begin with a discussion about what makes good illustrations to keep them focused on the pictures rather than the story.
I think I will have a contest with the older students to come up with a name and rules for our annual Allen picture book award. This will be the third year we've done this process, and it would be very cool to have a shiny medal to put on all those books. I wonder if there's a place I could produce a custom shiny embossed medal?? Hmmm...
Let me just point out some themes:
- Scary books. I Need My Monster and The Book That Eats People were both scary enough to get my second-graders quivering in their silent little shoes. I think they were disappointed that the Goblin in the Empty Chair were not more scary -- I mean, the word "goblin" should have been a tip-off, right? Wrong. They still liked it, though.
- Two books with two exclamation points in the title!!
- At least three qualify as preschool titles; it is interesting that 7-year-olds would choose them.
I will review each of these titles over the next few weeks.
Labels: mock caldecott