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CBB Trivia Night 2017—or—The answer is always “Ashley Bryan”

host with the most Jack Gantos. Photo: Jennifer Kelley Reed

Okay, maybe the answer isn’t always “Ashley Bryan.” “Ashley Bryan” isn’t Bod’s last name in The Graveyard Book, or Ramona Quimby’s middle name. But just because the accomplished Mr. Bryan was an answer last year doesn’t mean he can’t be one — or two — this year. After all, there’s plenty to know about him.

That’s what we learned this year from Children’s Books Boston’s Wicked Boston Trivia Challenge, held as always at M. J. O’Connor’s Back Bay, and hosted as always by the inimitable Jack Gantos.

For Horn Bookers Lolly, Martha, Elissa, Russell, and me, plus compatriot Jennifer, last year’s major takeaway became this year’s team name: Listen to Elissa. That proved to be good advice at a number of junctures. But valuable contributions came from all around the table: Lolly’s illustration smarts,  Martha’s first-line-identification prowess, Russell’s knowledge of fantasy. It’s all about the wide-ranging nerdiness.

Listen to Elissa (Horn Book) team table: Martha Parravano, Russell Perry, Lolly Robinson, and Shoshana Flax. Photo: Elissa Gershowitz

visual round: “Birds of a Feather.” Photo: Elissa Gershowitz

Okay, so team Not Your Father’s Dragon apparently had wider-ranging nerdiness, and team Frog and Toad Are Friends with Benefits (one of two teams so named) even wider. Somewhere amid the Autobiographies and Memoirs, Names, Literary Slipstreams, and Settings, they slipped ahead of us. What is a literary slipstream, you ask? Apparently, it’s akin to what someone in an academic setting might call “intertextuality.” What story does Gregory Maguire reference in Matchless? What 2009 YA novel retells Don Quixote?

Other things we learned:

  • Booksellers know everything. (But former booksellers might have forgotten illustrators’ names if the shelves were alphabetical by author.)
  • If the answer isn’t “Ashley Bryan,” there’s a good chance it’s “Maurice Sendak.” (And at this particular event, one of the answers is probably a Jack Gantos book.)
  • Cassandra Clare was born in Tehran.
  • It turns out, the moon completely sucks.
  • Trivia nights are a lot of fun, even when you don’t come away with bragging rights.

Congratulations, superior nerds. See you next year.

winning team Frog and Toad Are Friends with Benefits. Photo: Elissa Gershowitz

For more information on Children’s Books Boston events, follow CBB on Facebook.


Shoshana Flax About Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in Writing for Children from Simmons College. She is a member of the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee.

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