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Battle of the Books

2012 Judge: Matt Phelan

Matt Phelan is the illustrator of many books including Flora’s Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall, I’ll Be There by Ann Stott, and The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron. His first graphic novel, The Storm in the Barn, won the 2010 Scott O’Dell Award. Storm was also a contender in that year’s BoB. It advanced to the second round but was KO’d by Shaun Tan, which is fine because, c’mon, it’s Shaun TAN. His second book as author and illustrator was 2011’s Around the World. He is currently working on a graphic novel featuring the young Buster Keaton which will be published next year and, although he is thrilled to be a judge, should really be drawing right now.


  1. Yay! What a good choice for judge! Are you announcing the judges in order of matches? Will he be the judge for Amelia Lost vs Anya’s Ghost? Thus meaning his loyalty to graphic novels will be tested?

  2. Battle Commander says

    Sondy, Sondy, Sondy…you think we are so easy to read? Sorry, but no:)

    In fact we are starting with the four judges already revealed in the SLJ article and then will be doing so in random order. But by all means try to guess their matches! (The matching of judge to bracket is done by SLJ staff not yours truly or the Commentator.)

  3. Buster Keaton! Awesome. (And good luck to Matt with the judging, of course.)

  4. There has been a serious lack of Buster Keaton in the world of late. Way to step up Mr. Phelan.

  5. If Mr. Phelan judges the first round between DRAWING FROM MEMORY and THE GRAND PLAN TO FIX EVERYTHING, I’m picking DRAWING FROM MEMORY to win. Furthermore, if Mr. Phelan judges any of the later rounds that should include DRAWING FROM MEMORY, I’m picking it to advance even farther. It just seems like the type of book that’s right in his wheelhouse.

  6. Yet, Mr. H., 2 years ago, I predicted all the matches based on the book closest to the author’s own work — and I got them ALL wrong! I think maybe authors can see the flaws more clearly when it’s the type of book they write.

  7. True! I knew all along that R.L. Stine would pick A TALE DARK AND GRIMM last year but when reading his analysis, was for some reason or other, very worried!

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