Jonathan’s Beating the Bushes post made me actually turn back to my spring reading, and look at a couple of titles that never rose to the top for me, but which I thought had strong, unique writing and that I connected with. Neither have gotten talked about much for Newbery, but I bet that at least someone on that committee noticed them…
THE WAGER by Donna Jo Napoli. Creepy, beautiful, curious and intriguing. As usual from Napoli, she takes the nut of a folktale (here, the Grimm’s “Bearskin”) and turns it into a provocative psychological fantasy.
THE MEMORY BANK by Carolyn Coman. I though her BIG HOUSE and SNEAKING SUSPICIONS were Newbery-worth. This is not quite up to those, but still has her crystalline sense of character, voice, setting, tension. Her words seem conduct electricity, making me feel exactly like a nine year old, all that wonder and fear and silliness and seriousness.
Sometimes the Newbery chair will take a moment sometime in the nomination process to let each member select one book from the suggestion list they think have been overlooked, and “pitch” it to their fellow committee members. Besides beating the bushes of fall releases…anything that hasn’t been mentioned here yet from spring that you think may be overlooked?