I’ve had slightly more than two weeks in which to track down and read all the shortlisted Cybils titles that I hadn’t read, 25 books in the categories I was most focused on. I had grand plans, and thought I’d at least be able to read all the picture books by today.
Yeah, right. All the picture books on the shortlist were already checked out at the library, so while I’ve put them on hold (and requested the one title we didn’t yet have), none of them have come in for me yet. My library shelf at home is still crowded with the nominated titles I’d checked out before Christmas, most of which sound interesting even if they didn’t make it to the shortlist, and a few adult titles I requested have started coming in, too. Clearly, I need to give up everything in my life that isn’t reading or writing reviews for the next couple of weeks so that I can catch up. That will work, right?
Anyway, here’s what I’ve read since December 15:
Rose by Holly Webb (middle grade speculative)
Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch (mg graphic novel)
Sidekicked by John David Anderson (halfway through, mg speculative)
Middle Grade Speculative Fiction
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Skottie Young.
Summerkin by Sarah Prineas.
Magic Marks the Spot. The Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates Book 1. by Caroline Carlson. Illustrations by Dave Phillips.
Doll Bones by Holly Black. Illustrations by Eliza Wheeler.
How to Catch a Bogle. by Catherine Jinks. Illustrated by Sarah Watts.
hokey pokey by Jerry Spinelli.
Middle Grade Graphic Novels
Astronaut Academy: Re-Entry by Dave Roman.
Battling Boy Vol. 1 by Paul Pope.
Alphabet Trucks by Samantha R. Vamos. Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke.
So far, all of the shortlisted titles I’ve read have been fantastic, which is really what I expect. You want to read a fantastic kids’ or teen book in any given category – just go find the Cybils shortlists. I’ve already passed these lists on to the appropriate librarians at work, so they can fill in the few titles on the lists they hadn’t already bought.
In the nominated sff books, Hokey Pokey was the most disappointing – it was an interesting if trippy idea, but then he pulled the classically horrible “and it was all just a dream” thing at the end and ruined it. Fortunately, the Milk is cool, but all about the dad, and really, I want the kids to have more agency in a kids’ story. I really enjoyed all the other books in that category, and hope to have full reviews of them soon so I can discuss them in more depth.
I’ve already mentioned that my son and I both loved Astronaut Academy (both this year’s Re-Entry and last year’s Zero Gravity. The boy liked Battling Boy just fine, but my love and I couldn’t really see what all the fuss was about. And Alphabet Trucks is a fabulous book for truck-loving preschooler, with a truck for each letter of the alphabet that never felt like it was a stretch – but as neither of my kids were into trucks, it wasn’t a hit at my house.
For the next month, I have Monster on a Hill checked out to read with my son, as the shortlisted middle grade graphic novel I think he’d be most interested in. I’m in the middle of reading Sidekicked (and listening to Eleanor and Park, reading Save the Dragons and re-reading Shadows, though none of these are Cybils related). At this point, though, given the amount of book back-up at my house, I think I’m going to focus first on the middle grade speculative fiction for reading to me, the mg graphic novels for my reading to the boy, and the picture books (whenever they get in) for reading to the girl. After I’m caught up with those and the other books currently on my shelf, I’ll move on to the teen categories I’m interested in, even if that’s after February 15. But if you have any favorites among those that you’d like to particularly recommend, please let me know!
It has been particularly overwhelming this year for me, too. Whew. I think the fact that I had read so few of the short listed titles before they were announced sort of took the wind out of my sails.
Alphabet Trucks sounds like something my 3 year old would like.
Yeah… I’m trying not to be too deflated.
Alphabet Trucks is really well done, so if you’ve got the right kid for it, it will likely go beautifully.