Maud Hart Lovelace 2016-2017

Once again I’m going to try and read all the nominees. So far I have two items on my nightstand but I haven’t opened either one… I’m clearly not off to a very good start. Because of this, I’m only going to try and read the Division I nominees. There are several good ones in Division II but I don’t know if I’ll make it that far this year.

Anywho… here are the contenders for 2016-2017:

Division I (grades 3-5)

Almost Home by Joan Bauer

Army of Frogs: A Kulipari Novel by Trevor Pryce

Ava and Pip by Carol Weston

Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin

Capture the Flag by Kate Messner

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Escape by Night by Laurie Myers

The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin

Kizzy Ann Stamps by Jeri Watts

Nickel Bay Nick by Dean Pitchford

The Secret Chicken Society by Judy Cox

Wild River by P.J. Petersen


And the Winner is…

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein. Now, there is another winner for Division II but I didn’t read most of those books. I almost read all of Division I and I am not surprised at all that Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library won.

It’s a great book, my review here, and the interest I saw in the library was amazing. Congrats Chris Grabenstein!

Second Place goes to The Fourth Stall (my review here) and Third Place goes to Summer of the Wolves by Polly Carson Voiles (which I did not read).

I need to start reading next year’s nominees now!

Maud Hart Lovelace Roundup Round 2

Voting ended last Friday (8th) but the winner isn’t announced until April 23rd, so I still have time! Since my last post I crossed two more off the list.

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman

I kind of wish I’d read it instead of listening, since I missed out on all the awesome illustrations. However, the audio is read aloud by Neil Gaiman himself, so that makes up for a lot. It’s a great story about time travel and imagination, as told by the father who went out to get milk for his children’s cereal.

The Fourth Stall by Chris Rylander

The Fourth Stall certainly kept me on the edge of my seat! I’m torn because I want to like Mac, and sometimes I did, but mostly I didn’t. He makes for a great narrator however, and I really liked the gangster/noir vibe the audio book had. I didn’t notice the noir feeling as much when reading as opposed to listening, but that’s probably because the narrator did such a great job with the stereotypical inflections and stylizing when speaking. However, the narrator gave Vince a very NYC/New Jersey accent which doesn’t fit with the Illinois location.

Not my personal vote for the Maud Hart Lovelace winner, but I can see the appeal.

Maud Hart Lovelace Roundup

Elementary students across Minnesota will vote on their favorite Maud Hart Lovelace nominees by Friday, April 8th. I’m hoping to finish them all, but I only have two weeks left. I managed to read three this week though!

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Ever wonder why Rumpelstiltskin wanted a the lady’s baby? Or why the king thought she could spin straw into gold in the first place? Rump explains all these questions and more.

Rump was born only knowing half his name (and not the great half), as his mother died halfway through announcing his name. In Rump’s world, your destiny is tied to your name, and with only half a name, he had half a destiny. Until he found his mother’s spinning wheel and Rump begins to discover his destiny (and full name).

I love fractured fairy tales so I was really excited about Rump. I don’t know if it was the narrator of the audio book or because I know how the story ends and was impatient for all the ends to meet, but the book seemed to drag on forever!

8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos by Vivian Vande Velde

This little book is hilarious! It reminds me so much of Louis Sachar’s Sideways Stories from Wayside School books. Anyway, 8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ÷ 1 Dog = Chaos, tells the story of Twitch, the school yard squirrel, who got chased into the school by an owl, and then a dog. The dog and squirrel embark on a haphazard chase through the school, with the school pets trying to help their friend Twitch. Each chapter is told from the perspective of a different animal.

My favorites are the hamster and the snake.

Double Dog Dare by Lisa Graff

Francine Halata desperately wants to be the anchor for her elementary school’s announcements. When the Media Club vote for anchor comes to a tie between her and new kid Kansas Bloom, the two begin a Dare War to decide who will be anchor for the next semester. Along with the dare war, the two kids are facing similar family issues at home.

I checked this book out multiple times from the library and kept returning it after time was up and I still hadn’t read it. I don’t know why I lacked interest, since once I started, I couldn’t put it down! I loved Francine and Kansas! The only thing that rubbed me the wrong way is the principal’s obsession with “crushes.” Just let the two kids be friends!

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is my most recent foray into the Maud Hart Lovelace nominees this year. It’s been on my list for a while now, because it’s all about an amazing library, but I never got around to reading it. I knew I would read Mr. Lemoncello this year, but once I started my new job (more about that later) and found that most children (or their parents) said Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library was the last book they read and really enjoyed, I knew I had to check it out.

I found Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library really fun and I love all the library/lit references. I wish I’d read it and not listened because it was hard to follow the puzzles without seeing them in front of me. It also makes me want to go back and reread those books mentioned! Maybe I’ll start using those books, like From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in my Readers Advisory.

I wish some of the characters were further developed (Hailey and Sierra especially). The beginning hinted at their motivations and then as the game went on that got ignored. Also, the back flap calls Kyle the class clown. I never got that impression. He seemed like a regular kid to me.

Alien in My Pocket: Blast Off!

My second book in my quest to read all 2015-16 Maud Hart Lovelace nominees was Alien in My Pocket: Blast Off! by Nate Ball.

I can see why students nominated this book for the Maud Hart Lovelace Award– it’s funny, Zack is a relatable character etc.– but it just didn’t hold my attention. Although I believe that adults can enjoy children’s books (and I usually do) this is one where the intended audience enjoys it best. Alien in My Pocket: Blast Off! ended on a major cliff hanger, so it will be interesting to see where it goes next.

When Life Gives You O.J.



When Life Gives You O.J. by Erica S. Perl

Zelly Fried really really really wants a dog, but her parents won’t let her. She also happens to be one of the few Jewish kids in her small, Vermont town. When her best friend forever goes off to camp, Zelly is left friendless for the summer. Until her grandfather comes up with a plan for Zelly to prove to her parents she is ready for a dog. Enter, O.J., the practice dog.

The narrator, Abigail Revasch, does a great job, and I loved the author’s inclusion of Hebrew words and customs. However, I felt that it dragged a bit. It will be interesting to see how this book fares in the Maud Hart Lovelace awards.