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On your mark, get set, read!

Dear Patient Readers,

Martha and I have come up with a plan for the next few months of your our lives. It involves a lot of words like gutter, back matter, typeface, design, saturated, and stylized. Some of those words we actually understand. We have mapped out our time, knowing that Lolly will jump in as soon as she can to help us out. (I bet Lolly will appear in the comments when she has the energy for whipping us into shape.)

Here is how it’s going to go down: Martha and I will be trying a mixture of old and new this year. Much of the time we will talk about individual books through the focus of the terms and criteria we have tattooed on our brains. Sometimes we will talk about books we really love. Sometimes, well, we will disagree with the zeitgeist. Once or twice we may even disagree with each other. Every so often, we will write about Other Things that we want to talk about, just because.

Here are the books we are planning to talk about as of this very moment. We may not get to them all; we may add books that we see later in the year. We might compare some books to others. Who knows? The Real Committee is allowed to talk about books published this year, even comparing one to another. We might do that, too.

Stay tuned and return often, as we plan to post frequently. We have a lot to say.

Boring, oft-repeated disclaimer: This is our list. This is not the Caldecott committee’s list. If your favorite is not here, feel free to say, “I told you so!” later in January. 

So, without further ado, here is our list. Come back on Monday to see which book we discuss first. You can be sure of only two things: 1. We will NOT go in alphabetical order and 2. We will talk about Little Santa in December.



Bunnies on Ice


Daisy Gets Lost

The Dark

The Day the Crayons Quit

Flora and the Flamingo

Frog Song

Grandma and the Great Gourd

Inside Outside


Little Santa


The Matchbox Diary

The Mighty Lalouche

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

Mr. Wuffles!

My Name Is Ruby

Nino Wrestles the World

Odd Duck

On a Beam of Light

Papa’s Mechanical Fish

Tortoise & the Hare

Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great

Water in the Park


Plus, multiple titles illustrated by:

Brian Pinkney

Jonathan Bean

Melissa Sweet

Sergio Ruzzier


Robin Smith About Robin Smith

Robin Smith is a second-grade teacher at the Ensworth School in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a reviewer for Kirkus and The Horn Book Magazine and has served on multiple award committees.



  1. I just wondering if anyone else feels that “that is Not a Good Idea” by Mo Willems is missing or if they are just not feeling it is worthy of discussion…

  2. I think nearly everything Mo Willems has done is pretty wonderful, “That is Not a Good Idea” included. In fact, it makes me giggle every time. But I don’t think it warrents discussion as a Caldecott contender. The illustrations alone aren’t what makes the book stand out (the same with Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs), and the “silent film” look is better realized by past winner The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I’d love to discuss That is Not a Good Idea’s possibilities as a Geisel award contender, but looked at with Klassen, Pinkney, Stead, or Staake the illustrations just don’t stand out to me as distinguished.

    I’m really looking forward to discussing these. If I can only get my hands on a copy of all of them – being a librarian doesn’t always mean you’ll be first on the holds list!

  3. Yeah – how exciting!

  4. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    We are counting on you to add to the discussion, Sam!

  5. Good list – very robust. I will get busy and read! Thank you.

  6. My first grader and her friends decided to start a bookclub this fall. For our December meeting, I am going to send home a Caldecott contender with each member. Thanks for contributing to my list. I’m pretty certain Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great will be their top choice. Afterall, my committee is 6 and 7 year old girls. It will be interesting to see which others stand out to them.

    Here’s a link to information about our first meeting.

  7. Hi Robin, Great write up here. Thanks for the post. You are a really good writer and I enjoy reading your stuff.

    Leigh :))

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