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Calling Caldecott 2014 ballot #1 results

Well, well, well. Here you have it, the results of our first ballot. Martha, Lolly, and I have been obsessively checking the returns all weekend. It’s amazing that anything got done here or in Boston.

So, take a look. And if you see any arithmetic mistakes, holler at us and we will get it fixed. (It happens when someone is taking attendance at the same time she is tabulating votes. Thank goodness I have my second graders available with calculators and brains to doublecheck my math. Thank you, Apple TV!)

I love seeing the power of the second and third place votes. For example — see Journey and Mr. Tiger going wild! Journey has a clear advantage with its 93 first place votes, but Mr. Tiger’s significant 2nd and 3rd place votes puts the two books in a virtual tie. Incredible!

I love thinking about the people who only voted for first place–were they voting for their favorite and did not want to give even one point to Any Other Book? Were they unable to choose? Who knows? In the real committee, everyone has to vote for a first, second, and third place book. The “tellers” tally the votes and save every scrap of paper. (By the way, I loved being the teller as tellers get to present the results to the chair, who then announces the progress to the committee.)

So here is where we are.  We had about 436 people voting. Most votes came in on Friday, but there was a steady trickle of voters over the course of the long weekend. Twelve books will go on to the final ballot, which will be posted at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. Those polls will close at 9 a.m. on Thursday.

1st choice
(4 points)
2nd choice
(3 points)
3rd choice
(2 points)
Total points
Bluebird 10 11 18 109
Boxers & Saints 6 8 6 60
Building Our House 11 17 20 135
Bully 6 7 10 65
Daisy Gets Lost 4 1 2 23
The Dark 26 33 27 257
Flora and the Flamingo 24 20 22 200
Frog Song 5 7 11 63
Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? 29 14 7 172
Inside Outside 7 14 11 92
Journey 93 45 27 561
Locomotive 30 39 34 305
The Matchbox Diary 9 17 12 111
The Mighty LaLouche 11 13 19 121
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild 69 60 52 560
Mr. Wuffles! 18 27 20 193
Niño Wrestles the World 29 19 25 223
Odd Duck 10 6 7 72
On a Beam of Light 17 23 29 195
Parrots over Puerto Rico 20 13 14 147
A Splash of Red 4 13 18 91
The Tortoise & the Hare
7 13 17 101
The Tree Lady 7 6 9 64
Water in the Park
1 2 10 30


And here is where we are going:

Calling Caldecott 2014 second ballot

Building Our House by Jonathan Bean
The Dark by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle
Have You Seen My New Blue Socks? by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
Journey by Aaron Becker
Locomotive by Brian Floca
The Mighty Lalouche by Matthew Olshan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown
Mr. Wuffles! by David Wiesner
Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales
On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Vladimir Radunsky
Parrots over Puerto Rico by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore, illustrated by Susan L. Roth

At this point, we do not have a winner, but we clearly have some front runners. And as you can see from the numbers, two scenarios for how we made the cut-off presented themselves. One — choosing books with more than 150 total votes — gave us nine books still on the table. The second scenario — choosing books with more than 120 total votes — gave us twelve books. Since it’s just the three of us, we decided to make the emotional choice, go the inclusive route, and keep as many of our favorite books on the table as we could. We can certainly discuss whether or not that could actually happen on the real committee!

And now, we have another vote. All of those votes for books that are no longer in the running for our little Mock Caldecott are available to the remaining books. How will THAT go? Only you can decide. On the real committee, this would be a time for strongarming gently persuading your fellow book-loving folk to vote for YOUR favorite title. Use the comments below to do two things: 1. Moan and carry on about books you loved that are No Longer With Us and 2. Lobby for what you think is truly distinctive and deserving of a medal of any color.

And, when the next ballot is posted — VOTE!

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. Holy Moly! This IS exciting!!!!

    I’ve been clearing my cache since 8:45 (11:45 EST) waiting for the results.

    Glad you went with your emotional decision and included 12 books. Plus it makes it more challenging for us for our final vote later this week – can’t wait..

    I’m sad about the following NOT make the cut:
    Water in the Park
    Inside Outside
    The Tree Lady
    A Splash of Red
    The Matchbox Diary

    I’m surprised and delighted that these DID make it:
    Flora and the Flamingo
    Mr. Wuffles!
    as I didn’t think they would. Big phew especially for Nino!

    I’m surprised that these made the cut as I wasn’t so impressed with them as the others:
    The Dark
    Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?

    The Mighty LaLouche is the only one I read too long ago to remember well enough to comment on.

    Thanks for making all this happen – I’m really enjoying this!

    See you back here on Thurs.

    And, I’m looking forward to more analysis by Sam B and Sam J. Plus – Jules – hoping she weighs in.

  2. Martha V. Parravano Martha V. Parravano says:

    Nowhere do we list the books in order of how many votes they got, so in case this is of use to anyone:

    1. Journey
    2. Mr. Tiger Goes Wild
    3. Locomotive
    4. The Dark
    5. Nino Wrestles the World
    6. Flora and the Flamingo
    7. On a Beam of Light
    8. Mr. Wuffles!
    9. Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?
    10. Parrots over Puerto Rico
    11. Building Our House
    12. The Mighty Lalouche

    I find it fascinating that the top two choices were separated from each other by just one vote, but separated from the rest of the group by more than three HUNDRED votes.

  3. karen kosko says:

    This year is a horserace. Some outstanding candidates. I am still mulling and will vote.

  4. I’m so glad to see Locomotive staying near the top, even though those top two sound hard to beat. Locomotive has that illusive kid-appeal we keep talking about and craving – it’s a book a kid can really sit with, linger over and treasure.

  5. Martha, as incredible as it is I must say it is no surprise that JOURNEY and MR. TIGER GOES WILD are so adored by the voters. I do believe that this will also be case with the Caldecott committee members. Either book could come home with the gold and it’s a real horse race, but I do think JOURNEY will hold that very slight edge right through to the sentiments expressed by the ALA. I will admit that it is eye-opening the third place book (again LOCOMOTIVE was fully expected to carry the day in that position) did finish almost 300 votes behind the first two.

    I deeply, deeply lament (as Allison did above) the exclusion of:

    The Matchbox Diary
    A Splash of Red
    Inside Outside
    Water in the Park
    The Tree Lady

    and also:


    and I remain disappointed that these great books never made this ballot in the first place:

    Stardines Across the Sky (this is really a stunning book!)
    Knock Knock
    This is a Rope

    I would be willing to wager that THE MATCHBOX DIARY will win an Honor.

    Although I will not be polling the four first grade classes in my school until Friday morning, it is clear enough from the previous reaction during all the readings that NINO WRESTLES THE WORLD is probably the #1 favorite of all the books, so I am not at all surprised that this big audience pleaser (and a beautiful book to boot!) got the fourth highest number of votes.

    Great to see that ON A BEAM OF LIGHT, THE MIGHTY LALOUCHE and PARROTS OVER PUERTO RICO made the cut. I see THE DARK is really popular too, but no problem there at all–it’s really a great book!

    Congratulations to you all on the great results you have come up with!

  6. Heck, the Producers Guild last night awarded their first tie ever in giving the Best Picture prize to GRAVITY and 12 YEARS A SLAVE. That leaves all of Hollywood in a tizzy as to what will win, especially after the SAG award ensemble was copped by AMERICAN HUSTLE earlier in the week.

    Maybe the Caldecott voters will be so torn between JOURNEY and MR. TIGER GOES WILD that they will throw their hands up and declare a flat-footed tie between the books, which of course would be first time ever. Ha!

  7. I guess if we had to find one big surprise in this Top 12, Martha, I would say the showing of “Flora and the Flamingo.” It is a lovely book, just as popular with the boys as with the girls in my school, but I just didn’t see it surviving another round with this competition. Same goes for “Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?” but I know there are fervent enthusiasts here.

    ON A BEAM OF LIGHT sitting pretty at the #7 position is a book I can envision gaining in popularity on the next ballot.

  8. Sam Bloom says:

    Not to toot my own horn, but… I picked 11 out of 12. Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket on my way home tonight!

    That is indeed pretty stunning that Journey and Mr Tiger are so close. I’m thrilled that Locomotive is (somewhat) holding its own, surprised at how high Flora rated, and disappointed with how low Building Our House was. I’m trying to decide how to vote now – I could see voting for 9 of those 12 books (Flora, …New Blue Socks and the Dark are all fine but don’t quite hold up for me). Tough call!

  9. 11 of 12 is unreal Sam!!!! You better pick up a Mega Millions ticket for tonight’s drawing! Over here in the norther New Jersey/NYC area we are snowbound with a raging storm still burying us deeper.

    I completely, completely agree with you on FLORA, BLUE SOCKS and THE DARK……..good for sure…..but…….

    Can I ask you how many books we will be allowed to vote for on this new round? Will it be the same, a top 3 again?

  10. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Now that I am home from school and the Tylenol Sinus has kicked in, I wanted to address a couple of points. Other folks with more experience, feel free to set me right.
    1. As far as I know (and I just spent the last thirty minutes poring over the Caldecott Manual to see what it says), the committee can decide to keep any book on the table they wish, as long as someone has voted for it. So, our twelve books for the second ballot could have happened.
    2. And there are no rules for numbers of Honor books. There is a general trend toward having three to four honor books, but there is no rule. And of course there can be zero honor books. It pained me to type that last sentence. Y’all know my feelings on this: the more the merrier.

    So, though our vote means nothing to the real committee, it does point out how that weighted voting works its magic.

  11. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    And YES, you will be allowed a first, second and third place vote on the next ballot. It’s always interesting to see how the second vote lines up with the first ballot.

  12. Thanks for confirming that Robin! It will be exciting to see how they do match up!

  13. Thanks for that definitive clarification Robin. I completely agree that the more honor books, the more justice in the outcome, and greater future motivation for some of the winners. I think if ever there were a year where a large number of honor books were warranted, this would;d be the one.

    I hope you are feeling better and are shaking off that cold.

  14. T Bigelow says:

    Sam, Knock Knock came out so late that a lot of voters might not have seen it

  15. The first vote was very difficult! It is so much fun to talk about the glorious things happening in these books. But now that we’re having to make final decisions, it seems necessary to note concerns.

    I just love PARROTS OVER PUERTO RICO, but thanks to Allison’s earlier post in a different thread in regard to the number of “toes” on the parrots, I was forced to let that beautiful book go: a nonfiction book has to get the pictures right!

    There are a couple of things about THE DARK that nag at me, too. A little more than half-way through the book, Snicket seems to change POV. The four paragraph page of text in the second person that begins, “You might be afraid of the dark. . . ” feels like a bump in the story to me. The first time I read it, I had to go back and check to see if it was the Dark talking, but there are no quotation marks, as there are everywhere else the Dark speaks. So who is “you” and who’s talking to “you?” Throughout the rest of the book, it is clear to me that the Dark is talking to Laszlo. This page feels out of place. Am I missing something here?
    Also, in two illustrations, it looks to me as though Laszlo is suspended in space. On the page where he says, ” Downstairs?” Laszlo’s in the dark but on a different plane than the illuminated stairs. It happens again two pages later, when Laszlo says, “In the basement?” His feet are not in a logical place in the dark. Would anyone care to shed some light on these concerns? 😉

  16. Barb Outside Boston says:

    Boy, do I feel average right now!
    I had JOURNEY and MR TIGER as 1 & 2, but had a hard time picking one over the other with JOURNEY finally taking the #1 spot. I had an even harder time picking my 3rd place book with 4 of the final 12 jostling for a place, but finally picked ON A BEAM OF LIGHT.

    I also feel that the quality of illustrations are increasing. I did my Children’s Lit course just 2 years ago and immersed myself in the Caldecott winners through the years. One reason it may be occurring is because of the technological advances in reproductions and the relative decrease in cost. Maybe.

  17. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    I reviewed it and now I wish I had talked about it here. I really love the book and the art. There is a lot to talk about in KNOCK KNOCK! I think we can be assured that Caldecott has seen it. And, of course, CSK too. It’s special.

  18. Lynn, to be honest these issues and others like them in the end analysis do very little to sway my vote when I am impressed with a book. Close to nothing in fact.

    First off PARROTS OVER PUERTO RICO is a gorgeous, magnificent book with its heart and intent in the right place. I would never let a misplaced talon (if indeed this is an error–that has never been confirmed) diminish the nobility and rapturous beauty of this book. No way. I do not come to these books looking for those kind of issues and if they happen to intrude, I look at the overall experience and accomplishment. Not a SINGLE professional book critic took issue with that, and virtually all of them heaped lavish praise on the book. I own parrots and am not bothered with what probably was an honest mistake. But I would have to believe 99% of the people would not even notice about it unless it was brought to there intention, nor would they care.

    PARROTS OVER PUERTO RICO is a picture book masterpiece and no matter like the one being broached will remotely compromise that.

    I need to look at THE DARK again (which I will do as soon as I can)( to constructively comment on your complaint. I didn’t mean to come off as aggressive here–I respect your position and your passion, but I just feel that there was too quick an intent to dismiss. I look forward to future observations from you my friend.

  19. “One reason it may be occurring is because of the technological advances in reproductions and the relative decrease in cost. Maybe.”

    Barbara: I believe that is absolutely right!!

  20. Barb Outside Boston says:

    In re: the feet concerns

    You also see that on the 2-page spread that begins, “The voice of the dark was as creaky”.
    I adore what I see as the intentional disconnect between Laszlo and the scene that is illuminated by his flashlight. I am having a hard time finding the right words for this, but to me, the lighted scene appears almost as if it is a movie projected by the flashlight–a different reality. Laszlo and The Dark then ‘live in the same space’ on the 2-page spread that begins, “The next morning, Laszlo visited the dark”.

    It’s late for me right now, so I hope I was somewhat clear in how I perceive this!

  21. Great point T. Bigelow. That December 17th release date was a problem from the start. And Robin I must read your review!!

  22. I’m one of those bothered-by-the-gutter people in the MR. TIGER camp, but I do love it. Kids have been bananas for its details, and that has been such fun to celebrate.

    I’m one thousand percent behind JOURNEY, but my other two votes were (and will be!) for LALOUCHE and ON A BEAM OF LIGHT. LALOUCHE!

    I’m a huge FLORA fan, too. The art is exquisite and charming, but I mostly love how much musicality and crescendo the pictures have as the story progresses. Her use of white space and the moments traveling along the page is stunning. Strong, strong visual storytelling.

    Man. This has been such fun. 2013 was so strong!

  23. I completely agree with everything you say Carter, and love every book that you do. Great analysis if I may say so!

  24. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Thank you for your comments on Flora. You put into words what I could not.
    Musicality and crescendo!
    We shall see…

  25. Thank you! I wrote more about it earlier this year here: (and then felt awful that I said the Caldecott-word in JULY! That must be some kind of jinx.)

  26. Fabulous review Carter–a passionate and comprehensive piece of scholarship! Love the way you examine the book page by page. I placed a comment, but I think it went into moderation.


  27. Sam ~ I did do some research in regard to the toes/talons and ’tis true: Puerto Rican parrots have two in front, two in back, not three as in the illustrations. And maybe this wouldn’t have bothered me so much except for the discussion last year about UNSPOKEN and the question of the appearance of the quilt. Only committee members know if that factored into the decision not to honor Cole’s work, but when it comes down to having to choose better and best, maybe the devil IS in the details?

    Barb ~ THE DARK does have something of a movie feel to it, and perhaps that has to do with the placement of Laszlo’s feet, but the disconnect isn’t consistent. I’m still struggling with this.

    And after another read-through, I am reminded of an earlier post somewhere in regard to the flashlight beam: how it shines big and bright until Laszlo is in the basement, and then it doesn’t seem to shine at all. Another mystery to me, and at a time when I can only choose three out of 12, inconsistencies, mysteries, and inaccuracies weigh heavily.

  28. Carter, your blog post is just wonderful – thanks for giving me a new appreciation of FLORA! Now I have about a dozen or so books that I would be thrilled to see on the big screen next Monday…

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