Wednesday, March 12, 2014

SLJ BoB Round 1 Battle 4

Far, Far Away vs. Flora & Ulysses judged by Sarah Mylnowski

Since I just finished this book yesterday, I'm going to quote my Goodreads review:

"I love the trend of featuring the Grimm brothers in middle grade novels. I enjoyed Adam Gidwitz's trilogy and the books are insanely popular among my students. There was of debate whether this too old for the Newbery, but to me, it isn't any more disturbing than Splendors and Glooms. Jeremy is one of those poor kids who has a very adult life. He takes on numerous lawn care jobs to support himself and his father, and has to deal with an impending eviction from their bookstore. He is accompanied by the ghost of Jacob Grimm, who is to protect him from the "Keeper of Occasions," a villain who will do Jeremy harm. Jeremy takes part in a prank on the town baker with Ginger, a love interest, and this is where his troubles begin. The weaving of the Grimm stories as well as the masterful use of suspense makes this book a fantastic read. Highly recommended."

So this book was a hard sell for me at first (I know - GASP - it won the Newbery).  It just seemed so odd that Flora is just hanging out in her backyard, and discovers a superhero squirrel.  However, as you get deeper into the book and discover the nature of Flora's relationship with her divorced parents, I really discovered why this book is so magical.  One thing I can say about Kate DiCamillo is that she knows the kids she writes.  Flora, like Opal from Because of Winn-Dixie, is completely realistic (except that she finds a superhero squirrel), and I could identify with her feelings perfectly.  

I really should have given Flora & Ulyssess a reread, but I haven't, so I have go with Far, Far Away for this battle.  Based on the Newbery Curse (Newbery Award winners do not get past for the first Round of BoB), that seems like a smart guess as to which book Sarah Mylnowski will pick.  However, there is a first time for everything, and in the case of the Boston Red Sox in 2007, curses are meant to be broken.

Find out the result tomorrow at

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