Battle of the Books First Week Round-Up

After a week, School Library Journal’s Battle of the Kid’s Books is going strong.

I made my predictions/fan picks, and when the first match went my way, I thought I was going to do much better this year than last year, when I only picked one right in the entire first round.

However, after five matches, that first one is the ONLY one I’ve gotten right so far. I’m very bummed about the loss of A Conspiracy of Kings, but fondly hope that it will win the Undead Poll. As a fan on the Sounis page pointed out, “But you do know that Eugenides never loses, right? That even when he seems to lose he’s actually PLOTTING HIS VICTORY?”

So here are my predictions/hopes for the first half of the Second Round:

Match 1: The Cardturner, by Louis Sachar
vs. Countdown, by Deborah Wiles
judged by Laura Amy Schlitz

For this match, I’m rooting hard for The Cardturner. I wouldn’t have rooted for it against A Conspiracy of Kings, but I really loved it. Seems like a great book for math geeks and game lovers, and I am both. Roger Sutton on the Horn Book blog complained about the ending, but I loved it and thought it was set up nicely in the comments about Tony.

Match 2: The Good, the Bad, and the Barbie, by Tanya Stone
vs. Keeper, by Kathi Appelt
judged by Naomi Shihab Nye

For this match, I’m solidly in Keeper‘s camp. Another one that I loved. I did pick Hereville in the first round, but I loved both, and am very fickle, and now will be pulling hard for Keeper. I will have a tough time deciding on my third round choice if The Cardturner and Keeper both win. But I’m not really worried about that — more afraid that I’ve jinxed them by naming them as my favorites!

The third match is going to go that way, too. I have The Odyssey, by Gareth Hinds on hold, but the wait is rather long, and I haven’t read it yet. And the fact is, I liked both The Ring of Solomon and Sugar Changed the World very much, and I’m sure to root for the winner of that match in the second round.

But as I said before, most of the fun from The Battle of the Books comes from reading the judges’ comments. These are eloquent writers, and it’s entertaining to hear what each one says about two excellent books.

I’m looking forward to next week’s action!

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