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Calling Caldecott winner is The Farmer and the Clown


Congratulations to Marla Frazee’s spectacular The Farmer and the Clown, winner of this year’s Calling Caldecott mock vote!

While the rest of you were checking the weather and worrying about travel plans and charging your cellphones, we were here checking the returns for Calling Caldecott (results below).

Last year was unusual in that two books came in at a virtual tie, and so we really had no choice but to name one the winner and the other the sole honor book. This year was a little more typical. The winner was clear, with 477 points, a whopping 123 points above the next-highest vote getter. But the honor books were a little trickier to call. We had two books that garnered 300+ points, and the rest were in the 200s or less. But call it we must. On the real committee, the chair would consult The Manual and would talk about how the committee would proceed in order to name honor books.

Here is the relevant portion of The Manual:

Selection of Honor Books

Immediately following determination of the winner of the Caldecott Medal, and following appropriate discussion, the committee will entertain the following:

  • Whether honor books will be named.
  • Whether the committee wishes to choose as honor books the next highest books on the original winning ballot or to ballot again.
  • If the committee votes to use the award-winning ballot, they must then determine how many honor books to name.
  • If the committee chooses to ballot for honor books, only books that received points on the award winning ballot may be included. The same voting procedure is followed as for the award winner.
  • If the committee has chosen to ballot for honor books, following that ballot, the committee will vote how many books of those receiving the highest number of points are to be named honor books.

As Robin’s Gramma Gorman would say, “Clear as mud.” Did you notice something? Psssst: a committee can name as many honor books as they wish. The sky is the limit! (However, 3-5 is the norm.)

We here at Calling Caldecott would have loved to honor as many books as possible in this remarkable year for picture books. But, like the real committee, we have to pay attention to the numbers. And in this case, there were only two books that came close to The Farmer and the Clown‘s totals. So our two honor books are (tada!) Sam and Dave Dig a Hole and The Right Word.


As you can see from the chart and graphic below, there was a definite gap between the winner and the two chosen honors and the next four top vote getters — The Adventures of Beekle, The Iridescence of Birds, Viva Frida, and Gaston — much as we would have liked to recognize them. But we are trying to model the real committee here, and historically there is little precedence for naming six honor books — and even less chance if the numbers don’t support such a decision. (Note that we did have two books on our second ballot by the same illustrator: Christian Robinson. No doubt that his fans had to make some hard choices — if all the Josephine votes had gone to Gaston…well, things might have been different.)

Here are the full results:

1st choice
(4 points)
2nd choice
(3 points)
3rd choice
(2 points)
Total points
The Adventures of Beekle
23 34 23 240
9 21 35 169
19 19 25 183
The Farmer and the Clown
72 43 30 477
21 24 22 200
The Iridescence of Birds
25 26 25 228
11 15 22 133
A Letter for Leo
23 11 12 149
The Right Word 40 37 28 327
Sam & Dave Dig a Hole
35 40 47 354
Viva Frida
21 27 26 217


Here’s another way to get a visual picture of the results:

2015 Calling Caldecott final ballot

Thank you all so much for participating in our Mock Caldecott, even during (for some of us) a blizzard. In a few days from now, in cold and windy Chicago, our chatter will turn to the Real Winners. Meanwhile, why not take a few moments to let us know what you think about our results? And thanks again for voting.



  1. Certainly the three books that were honored are all masterpieces, so there is really is no room at all for complaint. I do hope to see FOUR or FIVE honor books next Tuesday in view of the spectacular year we’ve been treated to, but I well understand that consensus building within a committee make that proposition a difficult one. But I am hoping. I see that if there were two more in this voting THE ADVENTURES OF BEEKLE and THE IRIDESCENCE OF BIRDS would have gotten in. But obviously there are some other great books that either broke the 200 point mark or came close.

    Congratulations to the tireless crew here who assembled, tabulated and kept abreast of this polling and of picture books in general over the past year. What an exciting ride it has been!

    A heart congratulations to THE FARMER AND THE CLOWN, THE RIGHT WORD and SAM AND DAVE DIG A HOLE. And congratulations to all ELEVEN books that made this cut and the equally fabulous books that made the first ballot. And beyond many great ones that even missed that cut.

  2. Thank you so much for running this! What a tremendous year for picture books. So many of my favorites made the final 11 (Draw!, Viva Frida, Blizzard, Josephine, The Iridescence of Birds, Adventures of Beekle). It was a tough choice just picking 3! Congratulations to The Farmer and the Clown by the great Marla Frazee, and Sam & Dave Dig a Hole and The Right Word!

  3. Dean Schneider says:

    Thanks Robin, Martha, and Lolly for another year of Calling Caldecott! I know (quite well) the work that goes into it. It’s a great overall slate and great choices as Winner and Honors. I could have gone with any number of choices, so it’s always fun to see how the voting works out. And, as Sam said, congrats to the winners and all the books that made the cut (and even the many fine books that didn’t).

  4. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    Counting the ballots while Lolly and Martha were buried in snow, hanging onto internet access by a thread will be something I won’t soon forget! Now, I have to wait until Monday morning to hear who the winners are with the Caldecott committee. I hope they all make it to Chicago!

  6. Lolly Robinson Lolly Robinson says:

    Robin, can you tell us how you will be using this with your students? I think you have one or two more days at school before you leave for ALA, right?

  7. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    I read aloud Caldecott possibilities all year to my second graders. I leave a bin of the books in the classroom so the children can read them over and over. In January, I decide which books we will discuss as a group. I have eighteen students and know I will pair them up based on their interests, so I choose 10 books–so I can present one as a model. I print off a note-taking sheet and ask the kids to reread the books, take notes, and list appreciations and concerns on the back of the note-taking sheet. I allow each child to choose which book she or he wants to present to the group. Then, we discuss each book, Caldecott style. (summary, appreciations, concerns) When we finish, we vote. Usually it takes two ballots and then we name a winner and honor books. When I am at ALA, the substitute will watch the announcements on Monday morning while I text them from the floor if I can. (often it’s in a basement ballroom with terrible cell and wireless service) When I get back, they are full of indignation and questions!!
    Does that answer your question Lolly?

  8. Robin Smith Robin Smith says:

    It really was a wonderful year for picture books and I can’t wait for the announcements on Monday morning! Thanks for your kind words, Brian.

  9. Sam Bloom says:

    Thanks again, you guys. You’d hear no complaints from me if the Real Committee chose these winner/honor books exactly. p.s. – Love the leaps you guys have made this year in fancy graphs and visuals, ooh la la!

  10. Lolly Robinson Lolly Robinson says:

    Thanks, this is great. What do your students think of the Calling Caldecott winners? Do they have any indignation about our pics?

  11. Francesca Mellin says:

    The winner (by a slim margin) of our 3rd grade Mock Caldecott was The Adventures of Beekle. I just tallied the votes this weekend, and we have a snow day today, so the kids will go crazy tomorrow when I give them the double-good news! This will be our second slam-dunk, the first being Flotsam. Thanks for another great year of Calling Caldecott!

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