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Battle of the Books

Winner of the Undead Poll

Well, the winner of the Undead Poll is sure to be a big surprise.  During the first week of polling, WHEN YOU REACH ME opened with a comfortable lead, FIRE was gaining ground, but then . . . the post.  Scientist PZ Myers posted a glowing review of THE FROG SCIENTIST followed by a plug for Battle of the Books and a direct link to the Undead Poll ballot.  Whether it was that direct link or the extraordinary passion of science advocates, votes for THE FROG SCIENTIST came in so fast and furiously that we first wondered what the heck was happening.  FIRE did eventually overtake WHEN YOU REACH ME with THE LAST OLYMPIAN trailing in its wake, but it didn’t matter by then because THE FROG SCIENTIST had already run away with it.  While this was a missed opportunity for THE LAST OLYMPIAN, WHEN YOU REACH ME,  and FIRE, we can take away lessons on how to more actively and aggressively campaign for our favorites.  Then, too, given the strength of the nonfiction this year, there is something fitting about having two of the final three books represent the genre.  So . . .  THE LOST CONSPIRACY vs. MARCHING FOR FREEDOM vs. THE FROG SCIENTIST.  Place your bets!

— Commentator Jonathan Hunt


  1. Okay–didn’t see that coming. The BoB continues to surprise, amaze, and amuse!

  2. I don’t think anyone saw that coming.
    It’s beyond me…but, I guess it’s my own fault that I didn’t “aggressively campaign for my favorites”.

    My bet is on THE LOST CONSPIRACY.

  3. I totally saw this coming.

  4. Considering how many frogs in this world are made to jump thanks to electrical experiements in high school science classrooms (thereby giving them a definite zombie-like state) this seems strangely apt.

  5. Marie1163 says

    Well, I didn’t see this coming because I missed all the Undead talk. I’m not surprised When You Reach Me didn’t get it, however, because many probably thought it was a shoo-in for the final round (as it should have been). My last hopes were pinned on Fire. But, at least there’s probably another battle next year.

  6. Alas, there die the hope of Team ZoFi. LoCo it is, then!

  7. If there’s anything more terrifying than a zombie frog, I really don’t want to know.

  8. I’m delighted! I loved The Frog Scientist!

    I think Katherine Paterson has three excellent books in front of her. On the one hand, I don’t envy her the decision. On the other, I’m going to be happy with whatever she decides.

    (Pick the The Lost Conspiracy, Katherine.)

  9. You’re sure you didn’t write that on April Fools’ Day?

    Good for THE FROG SCIENTIST! But I am very sad for FIRE. So close!

    Anyway, these are definitely three outstanding books, and I’m glad they’ve gotten the recognition. I think I will be happy whichever one wins.

    As far as a prediction? I’m going to go with MARCHING FOR FREEDOM. I’ve got it here in front of me and plan to read it this weekend, too! If I change my mind on reading it, I’ll comment again, but if it’s as good as the previous judges have said, I think the importance of the topic edges it over the top.

  10. When I made the joke about Amphibians having a large fan base after Jonathan disclosed that “The” was in the title, I wasn’t trying to be prophetic. Who would have thought?

    In a game of rock, paper, sissors substituting Volcano, billy club, microscope – flowing lava always wins, right?

  11. Wow! Those polls were eye-opening – it’s nice to see so many people fired-up over books!! I love this. I’m so glad I had an opportunity to participate in the comments and reading this year. I’m begging you to post your short list EARLY next year so i can get some students and/or teachers involved in reading with me. Now that I understand how it works I can parlay that into a book club! Thanks so much for this awesomely fun battle!

    Now, I’m going to pick The Lost Conspiracy but I must run and get a copy of The Frog Scientist…

  12. Jonathan Hunt says

    We had the shortlist finalized in early December, but there were two schools of thought about when to release it. One school of thought said release it as early as possible so that people have enough time to track down and read because the more books people have read the more invested they become in the contest. A second school of thought said to release them several weeks prior to the contest in order to build anticipation and suspense and publicity. Personally, what I would like to see next year is the best of both worlds. Release them early, but dribble them out like Besty does with the Top 100 Children’s Novels. Anyway, I bring all this up because I’d like your opinion about it. Would it better help you promote the Battle of the Kids’ Books at your school or library if we had the shortlist available even earlier?

  13. I like the time-release idea. As long as you check my goodreads shelves and release the names of the books I haven’t read first. It’s a small thing to ask.

  14. Battle Commander says

    We also have talked about getting kids involved, something along the lines of the Carnegie shadowing program. If you have any interest is doing this next year, let us know.

  15. Sondy,

    Have you read The Lost Conspiracy? I think the importance of the topic edges IT over the top. Of course, um, same thing for The Frog Scientist. I really couldn’t be happier that these three books have been linked together by this contest. They are three really different and really great examples of how to write books for kids.

  16. I’m just tickled that one of my favourite books came back! (And I really like the comments on that review page.) On top of how excited I am that there are _2_ nonfiction books in the finals!

  17. I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but The Frog Scientist really got me! It makes a great dark horse–er, dark amphibian!

  18. Check out the youtube clip of Mr. Hayes’ poetic powers of persuasion:

  19. I would say I totally never saw it coming, but with the hints “it has THE in the title,” and “you’d never expect it,” THE FROG SCIENTIST would be the last one *I* would expect, so therefore, I expected it. (Sounds like twisted logic, huh?)

  20. Oh.My.Word! What an incredibly difficult choice! I’m torn between THE LOST CONSPIRACY and THE FROG SCIENTIST. No, wait… I loved MARCHING FOR FREEDOM, too! You have an exceedingly difficult choice in front of you Katherine Paterson! I can hardly wait to see what you decide.

  21. I feel like I did after Survivor Season One, when Richard Hatch showed us the way to play the game.

    So THAT’S how you do it.

    OK, next year be prepared for the Super Sekrit Society to Gather Massive Voting for the SLJ Bob Undead Poll!!


  1. […] you can be sure I’m bumping it up in the TBR list. By the way, I did a happy dance about the results of the Undead Poll! You can find my review of that title here – I loved […]

  2. […] until March 6th, giving you plenty of time to campaign for your favorite (as a certain scientist did last year) here in the comments, on your blog (and we will start the Peanut Gallery posts soon then), on […]

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