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A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy
Inside A Chair, A Fireplace & a Tea Cozy

Round One: Tale v KKK

MatchA Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz v They Called Themselves the K.K.K. by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (my review)

Judge: R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine – best known for the nightmares he creates for readers in his books. Guess what? Stine can add another notch to the nightmares he gives — this time to authors! Stine is not afraid to say, “but I have one negative comment here.”

NEGATIVE? Here I am, thinking all the SLJ BoB reviews were going to be puppies and daisies and double rainbows (informative and fun, but still, we’ve been singing kumbaya a lot) and now suddenly it’s not My Pretty Pony unicorns, it’s killer unicorns and zombies!

And again! “One negative comment“. Want reviews that are more thoughtful critiques, the good and the bad? Read Stine’s opinion. Which puts me at picking 3 of 7 winners so far, and, alas, 2 of the 4 that didn’t win I had going all the way.

About Elizabeth Burns

Looking for a place to talk about young adult books? Pull up a chair, have a cup of tea, and let's chat. I am a New Jersey librarian. My opinions do not reflect those of my employer, SLJ, YALSA, or anyone else. On Twitter I'm @LizB; my email is


  1. Mark Flowers says:

    Seriously – as good as the judges have been so far, I have been very disappointed with their “singing kumbaya” as you put it. I mean, let’s be serious here: As Easy as Falling was just nowhere near as good a book as Cardturner. Not even close. Would it have killed Stork to point out that book’s flaws? That’s just an example – all the books are flawed, even the ones I love 😉

  2. Mark, I think it can be hard to do that, especiallly when it’s two books that a person really likes. I enjoyed how Stine phrased it — “one negative comment” — it just seemed, so, well, like we were having a conversation about it. And then he backed it up. I especially liked his point for KKK in terms of the degree to which a nonfiction book for children/teens needs to focus on the event/history as seen/experienced thru children/teens. Stine took a stand — and not everyone agrees with that. So it wouldn’t be a “one negative thing” for another judge.