SLJ’s Battle of the Books and Abysmal Round Two

Okay, can I just say that School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books Round Two Judges made BAD decisions? Or is that too — horrors — judgmental?!

I’m finding the Battle is less fun when I’ve read all the books — at least when the judges don’t pick my favorites! When I hadn’t read the books, the judge’s descriptions piqued my curiosity and got me excited about reading those books. This time, they just make me think maybe I have bizarre taste.

Though at least they agonize so their opinions aren’t decisively bad!

So I’m still pouting about Code Name Verity going down. I still very much hope it will be the Undead Poll winner.

Which means I want The Fault in Our Stars to defeat Bomb. But honestly, I would have been rooting for The Fault in Our Stars anyway.

Did anyone else notice that one of the judges made the *same* usage mistake that appeared twice in Bomb‘s pages? They used “principle” when they meant to say “principal.” The Principal Flaw this year is the “Principle” Flaw! The principle is this: When you want to say it’s the main thing, you use “principal.” When you’re talking about a rule, a truth, you use “principle.”

Yes, call me a grammar snob. But my principle is that words in print are the principal way kids learn correct grammar and usage. If publishing professionals get it wrong, how can we expect kids to get it right?

There. Can you tell I’m grumpy about this round of the battle?

For the second half of the third round, it will be Splendors and Glooms vs. No Crystal Stair, almost my least favorite books in the whole battle. (My least favorite was Jepp, Who Defied the Stars, but these were next.) So that makes it hard to pick, and that makes me not too invested in the match. But rather than flip a coin, I will decide that No Crystal Stair has less flaws than Splendors and Glooms, so I will root for No Crystal Stair. The “Documentary Novel” approach was innovative, and she pulled it off.

I found it interesting that both these books had significant sections told from the perspective of adults. That would be a flaw against any other book in the battle. But since they both did it, they cancel each other out, as far as that goes. The principal factor in my decision was the unsatisfying ending of Splendors and Glooms weighed against the way No Crystal Stair upheld the principle that reading is empowering.

Clearly, it’s getting late and I should go to bed….

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