Monday, January 05, 2009

Newbery Books: Great, Good, Meh, or Skip?

So, I was talking with Cash the other day, and she was hinting around that I haven't blogged in a while. It's true. In my own defense, I have a partially-completed post that just takes a bit to finish because it's my 2008 Movie Post. You know, the one where I tell you what I watched in '08 and give my opinion about their goodness or badness.

Anyway, in the meantime, since I probably won't finish that post until at least tomorrow, please enjoy a post brought to you by Cash. She read all of the Newbery books. It took her a few years to complete the goal, and she did it with this really fantastic, enjoyable, and long write-up about each of the books. Don't worry... I'm not going to post the write-ups. But, I am going to post her categorization of the books into Great, Good, Meh, and Skip categories. If you want to read Newbery books, feel free to use this as somewhat of a guide. Also, feel free to discuss in the comments of this post whether you agree/disagree with her categorization of the books. Or, you can ask her specific questions, and if she realizes I'm doing this, maybe she'll answer your questions in the comments section.

And for me? As a newly-reinstated card-carrying member of our public library, I plan to read some of these books. If I can get around to it. I am also pleased that there are relatively few books in the skip category. For award-winning books, I would hope there wouldn't be many, if any. Enjoy!


2005 Kira-Kira
2001 A Year Down Under
1999 Holes
1997 The View from Saturday
1994 The Giver
1990 Number the Stars
1988 Lincoln: A Photobiography
1984 Dear Mr. Henshaw
1979 The Westing Game
1978 Bridge to Terabithia
1977 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
1973 Julie of the Wolves
1972 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
1968 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
1967 Up a Road Slowly
1963 A Wrinkle in Time
1961 Island of the Blue Dolphins
1959 The Witch of Blackbird Pond
1954 …And Now Miguel
1948 The Twenty-One Balloons
1946 Strawberry Girl
1944 Johnny Tremain
1936 Caddie Woodlawn
1934 Invincible Louisa
1923 The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle
1922 The Story of Mankind


2008 Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village
2007 The Higher Power of Lucky
2006 Criss Cross
2000 Bud, Not Buddy
1998 Out of the Dust
1995 Walk Two Moons
1993 Missing May
1992 Shiloh
1991 Maniac Magee
1989 Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices
1987 The Whipping Boy
1986 Sarah, Plain and Tall
1983 Dicey’s Song
1981 Jacob Have I Loved
1980 A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl’s Journal
1974 The Slave Dancer
1970 Sounder
1967 The High King
1964 It’s Like This, Cat
1958 Rifles for Watie
1957 Miracles on Maple Hill
1955 The Wheel on the School
1952 Ginger Pye
1945 Rabbit Hill
1941 Call It Courage
1939 Thimble Summer
1932 Waterless Mountain
1925 Tales from Silver Lands
1924 The Dark Frigate


2004 The Tale of Despereaux
2003 Crispin: The Cross of Lead
2002 A Single Shard
1996 The Midwife’s Apprentice
1985 The Hero and the Crown
1982 A Visit to William Blake’s Inn
1976 The Grey King
1975 M.C. Higgins, the Great
1971 Summer of the Swans
1966 I, Juan de Pareja
1965 Shadow of a Bull
1962 The Bronze Bow
1956 Carry On, Mr. Bowditch
1953 Secret of the Andes
1951 Amos Fortune, Free Man
1950 The Door in the Wall
1949 King of the Wind
1943 Adam of the Road
1942 The Matchlock Gun
1940 Daniel Boone
1933 Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
1931 The Cat Who Went to Heaven
1930 Hitty, Her First Hundred Years
1929 The Trumpeter of Krakow
1928 Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon
1927 Smoky the Cow Horse
1926 Shen of the Sea


1960 Onion John
1947 Miss Hickory
1938 The White Stag
1935 Dobry


julie said...

I've read several on the first two lists but none on the "Meh" and "Skip" lists. The Giver is one of my favorite books; I'd forgotten it was a Newberry.

Jess and Dusty said...

This is something I am working on as well. I agree with all the great, but would definitely slide some of the Meh and Good onto the Great section.

Cardine said...

Jess - Such as? I think it would be nice to see which books you liked. Some people might have similar tastes as you.

Anonymous said...

Ooohh... this may be very helpful for me this year. Glad to have this list; I may refer back to it for Cash's opinion.

Mellissa said...

Thanks for the list. I've read a few from the first two lists, and there are some I've always wanted to read.

Cash said...

There is actually only one "r" in Newbery.

dub said...

I read The Hero and the Crown a couple of months ago, and it surprised me that it was a Newbery. Robin McKinley has written some beautiful fantasy books that I would recommend to children, but The Hero and the Crown is not one of them. It disturbed me that the heroine had intimate relations with a man shortly before marrying someone else. I agree with Cash. Meh.

Cardine said...

Well, I fixed the spelling. D'oh!

The other day I saw both "The Giver" and "A Wrinkle in Time" as I was browsing in a store, and I thought about purchasing them. But then I didn't. I remembered my overflowing bookcase and the fact that I haven't read everything on it yet. And the fact that I'm still pretty far from having read them all. I am proud of myself for resisting the buy.

Jill - GlossyVeneer said...

I should read more of these. I haven't read every single one, but I've read a good majority of them up until 1996. After that I quit working at the public library and didn't have them right at my fingertips. This really made me want to revisit some of my favorites too. I loved "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" as a kid.

Cash said...

Jess, there are a few books on both the "meh" and "good" lists that were borderline. I could have bumped them up a spot, but I selected this in the end. In fact, I can see how all of the books could be on someone's "good" or "great" lists ... with the exception of Miss Hickory and The White Stag. Man, I hated those books!

Cardine, it took me 2.25 years to read all the Newbery winners once I actively made the decision to do it. I read other, grownup books in between, of course, and sometimes I really dragged my feet on this goal. I renewed Young Fu and Smoky the Cow Horse four or five times at the library, I think.

Dub, I totally agree with your thought processes on The Hero and the Crown. In fact, it sounds like a slice of my summary for that book.

Cardine said...

Jill - I actually think that I first met you in the library way back in middle school. I have memories of being in the basement of the old library being creeped out (old things scare me sometimes) and you giving me some book suggestions.

Does anyone else think that Roald Dahl is conspicuously missing from the Newbery Awards?

Cash said...

Roald Dahl was British, and the Newbery Medal is for American books. That's my guess why he's absent from the list, Cardine.

Cardine said...

D'oh! Haha... why do you have to have a good explanation for everything?

Wendy said...

Thanks for the suggestions!!!

Cassie said...

I've only read a few of those books, the most popular ones like The Giver which I love. Maybe someday I'll refer to this list when I get through my hundreds of other books.

sar said...

So there were books on the Meh list that I remember liking quite a bit when I read them. For some it was many years ago and perhaps my opinion would change - but here are the ones on that list that I think deserve a higher rating:

I Juan de Pareja, The Midwife's Apprentice, & King of the Wind (King of the Wind is the most iffy since my memories of it are the vaugest but I do recall liking it a lot when I read it in elementary school).

tearese said...

wow, 16 comments. What happened to all of my commentors?
I think I read a bunch of those in the first catagory when I was in Elementary school. Some of those were good movies too.
I saw the Tale of Despereaux over our holiday, and it was suprisingly good, despite some odd parts.

Cardine said...

You have to subtract off all the times I've commented. But yeah, tons of people commented on this post. Thanks, everyone!

Booklogged said...

I haven't read all the Newbery's though I think that's a wondeful goal. I totally love both Lois Lowry's - The Giver and Number the Stars. I also loved Despereaux (haven't seen the movie yet) but I loved that brave little mouse with a needle for a sword. Another one I would put on the Great, or at least the Good list, is Crispin: The Cross of Lead. I agree with those that Cash listed on the Great List.

Happy New Year, Cardine!

warnser said...

Yes indeed, this is a very interesting topic.

And thanks for sharing it.

So here are a few of the things that I would add/ say.

I've read a lot of these books, but there are a lot that I haven't heard of too.

I think that the list of greats is well, yeah... great.

I think I agree at least on the ones I know.

And like so many others I too love the Giver. Really!

The good list had a lot that I've never heard of but I do remember really liking Maniac Magee (I don't like his other books as much, but I just read them, so that might have influenced me some).

Ironically, or interestingly...
The further down the list I go, the less it seems that I have read. But I totally give a solid ditto to The Tale of Despereaux. It was definitely a meh for me.

And then at the bottom,
I can't remember it, but I'm sure I've read the white stag. (Incidentally I've actually seen a white stag too. (which is why I know that I've read it)) but it memory is faint, maybe because I didn't like it, but I don't know.

Either way that list is awesome and I guess I basically agree. Strong thanks to Cash & Cardine for it.

Emily said...

Thanks for this list. It makes me want to add to my collection. If you haven't read them and want to I have:
The Giver (one of my favorites ever)
Bridge to Terabithia
Roll of Thunder hear my cry (had since 6th grade)
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
A wrinkle in time
Invincible Louisa
The Whipping boy (I really like this one too for some reason)
Sarah Plain and Tall
Jacob have I loved
Seeing this list makes me want to get more though. There are a lot on this list that I have read and would like to own, and also quite a few that I have not.

Cash said...

Cardine, they just named this year's Newbery winner. It was nice to have that goal accomplished for 30 short days, but now it's back to the library.

Cardine said...

cash - yes, but at least you had those 30 days. And only a little bit of effort to get back to the completed status. I abandoned my eating-at-every-restaurant goal after I deemed it complete. It was too ... time consuming, and I had lost the desire.

Cash said...

I finished the 2009 Newbery: "The Graveyard Book." I need more time to digest it, but it's hovering somewhere between great and good right now.