Nuts to You
Of course I’m biased, but I happen to think that CRISS CROSS is one of the best Medal winners in the canon. To be sure, it’s a polarizing kind of winner, but there’s no question that–like THE WESTING GAME–it’s individually distinct. One was made and then the mold was broken.
If AS EASY AS FALLING OFF THE FACE OF THE EARTH is still very good, we never really gave it its proper due here on the blog. That’s because it, too, straddles that upper end of the range that CRISS CROSS occupies, and in the year of its publication there were lots of good books up there, namely one that you may recall: A CONSPIRACY OF KINGS by Megan Whalen Turner.
Nobody’s going to accuse NUTS TO YOU of being too old for the Newbery. It’s even younger than her first novel, ALL ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE–and, like the Gantos and the Holm, it’s short! Naturally, I was keen to get my hands on this one, which now has four starred reviews, and I have to tell you that . . . I’m not the reader for this book.
The omniscient narrators of her previous books were pithy and wise and all kinds of wonderful, observing the world in a wholly unique way. While the other literary elements were strong, the voice was one of the primary draws for me. Here it seemed like much of that was reserved for the footnotes, but I missed it terribly in the main narrative. This one is probably a victim to my unfair expectations.
Or maybe I just have a natural aversion to squirrel-themed middle grade fiction. I didn’t care for last year’s squirrel book either, and that won the Medal. Maybe my critical faculties are clouded when it comes to squirrels? Am I missing something? Am I being entirely unfair? What do you say?
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About Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the Coordinator of Library Media Services at the San Diego County Office of Education. He served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and has also judged the Caldecott Medal, the Printz Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. You can reach him at email@example.com
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