The shortlist for the awards were announced on Friday 13th March with 6 books making the cut for each category:
The Yes by Sarah Bee and Satoshi Kitamura (Andersen Press). A very unusual but powerful story about a large orange creature called a ‘Yes’ who leaves his comfortable and safe home to venture out into the ‘Where’ to try new things. Despite being followed by a pack of niggling ‘Nos’ who undermine his confidence, the ‘Yes’ manages to overcome his fears. The power of positive thinking is the underlying message here.
Z is for Moose by Kelly Bingham and Paul. O. Zelinsky (Andersen Press). I’m so glad this book made it to the shortlist as it’s a bit different (more of an alphabet book than a traditional story). It is very funny and made me laugh out loud the first time I read it. A moose gets so excited about appearing on the ‘M is for…’ page in the book that it keeps coming in early on the wrong letters. When ‘M is for’ finally comes around, a zebra dressed as an umpire informs the moose that they’ve decided to go with something else this time for the letter M. Enraged, the moose then runs rampage through the rest of the book followed closely by the whistle-blowing zebra. Finally, the moose gets to make his appearance – ‘Z is for Zebra’s friend, Moose’. I think a lot of children will sympathise with the moose and how hard it is to be patient and wait for your turn.
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins). I think this book has been on nearly every award list recently! An excellent story told through letters from fed-up crayons to their owner. Oliver Jeffer’s illustrations are the icing on the cake.
Hermelin: The Detective Mouse by Mini Grey (Jonathan Cape). There are a lot of little details for children to spot in this humorous story about a crime-solving mouse. The pages feature a striking mix of illustrations, newspaper snippets, typed notes and labels which all act as clues for the reader to play detective alongside Hermelin.
Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton (Walker Books). In trademark Chris Haughton style, this book looks deceptively simple. Armed with nets, three hunters are trying various methods to catch a bird which eludes them every time. A fourth little hunter following them has a much simpler plan, if only they would listen to him! The illustrations are drawn in varying shades of blue apart from the colourful birds which contrast wonderfully with the hunters and forest.
The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino (Macmillan Children’s Books). A lovely story featuring a crocodile-like creature who just doesn’t seem to be like the other crocodiles. They love swimming and he tries hard to be like them but almost drowns in the process. Maybe he is different but because of that he can do other things that they can’t…..like breathe fire. Everyone has their own talents. An excellent book to celebrate difference and diversity.
Stay Where You Are Then Leave by John Boyne (Doubleday). World War One through the eyes of a young boy whose father returns from the war with shell shock.
Us Minus Mum by Heather Butler (Little Brown). A heart warmimg story about two brothers coming to terms with the death of their mother.
Blackberry Blue and Other Fairy Tales by Jamila Gavin and Richard Collingridge (Tamarind Books). Six refreshing fairy tales for a modern multicultural audience.
Cowgirl by Giancarlo Gemin (Nosy Crow). The community of a run-down council estate in South Wales are brought together by cows. Yes, cows.
Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press). 12 year old Scarlet lives in fear of Social Services discovering that she has become the sole carer for her depressed mother and autistic brother, Red.
Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre (Oxford University Press). Oliver sets out to find his missing parents and encounters all kinds of weird and wonderful sea creatures along the way. Quirky adventure tale.
Looking At The Stars by Jo Cotterill (Bodley Head). The story of Amina and her family as they become refugees forced to flee from their homeland.
Vango by Timothée de Fombelle and Sarah Ardizzone (Walker Books). Thrilling action-packed adventure story set across 1930s Europe. Full of chases, secrets and mystery. Excellent.
The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss (Simon and Schuster). 16 year old Pearl struggles to accept her newborn sister, whose birth caused the death of their mother.
Every Day by David Levithan (Egmont). Each day ‘A’ wakes up in a different body which he can deal with by following a set plan….until he falls in love.
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Piccadilly Press). A young genius, who has difficulties with emotions and social skills, comes to grips with the sudden death of her adopted parents.
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (Egmont). Gripping story featuring a young female pilot in World War Two.
Now that the shortlists have been announced, the shadowing groups can get cracking! Anyone not part of the official shadowing groups can still be involved by posting comments on this blog. Let us know if you have read or used any of the titles on your placements. I’ll bet a lot of you have already used The Day the Crayons Quit in your teaching practice. How did it go?