Now that all of those runner-up awards (Newbery, Caldecott and all) have been announced, it’s time to broadcast the winners of the Coveted (the word “coveted” was added last year) Robbie Awards, in which a distinguished panel of experts (me) selects the funniest children’s picture book and chapter book of the year (sometimes the winners are notified).
Zebra (wearing a sports referee outfit) directs a theatrical presentation of the alphabet. Apple is first onstage to represent the letter A (naturally). Ball represents the letter B and Cat shows up for the letter C – just like hundreds of alphabet books. But then, impatient Moose stands in for the letter D, knocking Duck off the back of the platform. Moose bumps his antler into Elephant’s ribs when the letter E is profiled. Moose keeps asking “Now?” and disrupting things. At one point, for the letter K, Moose is in mother Kangaroo’s pouch with the joey who asks, “Mommy, who is that?” At last, the letter M is coming up, but Zebra makes a last minute decision to substitute Mouse. “I’m sorry. We decided to go with the mouse this time,” Zebra states as he makes a check-mark on his clipboard. The angry looks and actions of Moose on the following pages were the tipping points for selecting this book as the funniest picture book of the year. The back cover shows the issue resolved. Moose and Zebra are friends again and we read “Z is for Zebra. (And zipper, zero, zoo, and zombie – but that’s another book entirely.)”
2012 Coveted Robbie Award Picture Book Honor Books:
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems (Balzer & Bray)
One Cool Friend by Toni Buzzeo and David Small (Dial).
A human girl named Madeline interacts with some bunny rabbits to help locate her dim-witted parents (who have been kidnapped by foxes). Mr. and Mrs. Bunny are in awe of the fact that Madeline speaks Bunny. The bunnies themselves speak Fox, Marmot, Bird – “You know, the Romance languages.” They also picked up “a little Bear. Some Groundhog, a touch of Prairie Dog.” Still, they know that Humans don’t normally understand Bunny and conclude that Madeline is a “bunny whisperer.” As Madeline tells Mr. and Mrs. Bunny what happened to her parents, she begins to tell them, “it looks as if my parents were kidnapped by f–’ ‘FIENDS!’ Mrs. Bunny had the unfortunate habit of finishing people’s sentences. ‘Fillians!’ said Mr. Bunny, who couldn’t think of an f word but wanted to join in the game. ‘Fairies!’ said Mrs. Bunny.” One can see what Madeline had to work with. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny decide they need the help of a marmot but they aren’t sure where the marmots live. “They keep changing their houses. One day they’re here. One day they’re there. They’re very transient. And they don’t bring cake.” When Madeline asks how are they going to find the marmot, Mr. Bunny says, “‘We thought all children knew how to find things.’ ‘Google,’ said Mrs. Bunny. ‘I didn’t know you could Google marmots,’ said Madeline. ‘You can Google anything, dear,’ said Mrs. Bunny patronizingly. ‘I just learned how to use the computer this year. Mr. Bunny taught me.’ ‘And I’m never teaching you anything again,’ said Mr. Bunny. ‘You got that straight,’ said Mrs. Bunny.”
2012 Coveted Robbie Award Chapter Book Honor:
The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy (Walden Pond Press).
For a complete list of previous Coveted Robbie Award winners, go to my website RapnRob.com.
And enjoy the laughs.