Monday, April 13, 2009

Thoughts on Matches 1 and 2

This morning, the winners of the first two matches of the Battle of the (Kids') Books were announced.

In Match 1 (Ways to Live Forever vs. The Kingdom on the Waves) Roger Sutton's pick was no surprise to me. I haven't read either Octavian book and - no offense to MT Anderson or the legions of Octavian fans out there - I have no intention of reading them. Just not my thing, I'm afraid. Maybe someday I'll change my mind.

Some people may get up in arms about a YA book that doesn't have a wide YA readership being chosen, but Roger's reasoning makes perfect sense to me. He says:

It’s a book we didn’t have before and thus offers new possibilities for the books that will come after. I don’t think it will have a wide readership among kids, but it will be read by teachers, librarians, and perhaps most influentially, other writers. What will it allow them to write?

I can get on board with that.

As for Match 2 (The Graveyard Book vs. The Trouble Begins at 8), I'm delighted by Jon Scieszka's upset. I, somewhat begrudgingly, filled in The Graveyard Book to win this match because everyone seems to love it. I liked it. I didn't love it. But I loooooved The Trouble Begins at 8.

Jon Sceiszka writes about the book:

...The Trouble Begins at 8 is a clear winner. It is a thoughtful, funny, scholarly piece of writing. And it just might be the book to rescue one of the funniest American writers ever from the grave of required school reading.

Someone's already commented, lamenting the fact that "Another YA book wins that appeals to adults more than young adults." I'm not sure that's true. I remember reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (albeit, a watered-down, abridged version!) in elementary school and loving it. I really think that if someone had handed me Trouble after that, I would have eaten it up.

So, congrats to the winners and it remains to be seen whether my bracket can be salvaged... ;)