December Armchair Cybils

We are continuing to enjoy lots of great new juvenile fiction along with the Armchair Cybils challenge at Hope is the Word. First up, brief reviews of four Cybils fiction picture book nominees that we have recently read.

Frog fell into a deep hole. ”Frog fell into such a deep hole, he couldn’t get out to save his soul.” Mouse tries to help but falls in too. Then  Loris and Sun Bear and Monkey. Oh, No! And hungry tiger is coming to help. Oh, No! is one of those irresistible read-aloud books where all the pieces come together beautifully. Infectious rhyme punctuated with onomatopoeiac animal sounds and gorgeous illustrations by Caldecott Winner Eric Rohmann. We all loved it on multiple readings.

Henry Alfred Grummorson is the great-great-great-great-great-great grandson of King Arthur. On his sixth birthday he wakes up, mounts his trusty donkey and heads out in search of adventure. He finds a little bit of adventure and a lot of new friends. King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson is a good solid book that gave us all a chuckle.


This Is Not My Hat
is the sort of sequel to Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back, one of the picture book sensations of 2011. I wasn’t a huge fan of I Want My Hat Back although I did see that it was clever and original. I’ve seen some reviews that view This Is Not My Hat as the clever flip side to the story from the hat thief’s perspective. Maybe I’m just not the right audience for Klassen but this one also left me cold and it didn’t even have the benefit of at least being original.

Red Knit Cap Girl is a sweet simple book for young preschoolers. Red Knit Cap Girl wishes more than anything to find her friend the moon so she can talk to her. She sets out with her animal friends on a quest to figure out a way to get close enough to the moon. The wood-cut illustrations are lovely and make a nice accompaniment to the story. The only thing that bugged me about this book was that the girl’s only name is Red Knit Cap Girl and that it is repeated over and over again. I found that awkward and a little distracting from the story.

Other books we have enjoyed since last month’s round-up:

Fiction Picture Books
Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo
All Kinds of Kisses by Nancy Tafuri
Gem by Holly Hobbie
Bear Has a Story to Tell by Phillip C. Stead
Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson
Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! by Wynton Marsalis
Think Big by Liz Garton Scanlon
Cat Tale by Michael Hall
Wumbers by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Non-Fiction Picture Books 
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
Timeless Thomas by Gene Baretta
Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland
Minette’s Feast by Susannah Reich

Fantasy and Science Fiction Middle-Grade
Horten’s Incredible Illusions by Lissa Evans
What Came from the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt

In addition here are links to my Armchair Cybils Round-Ups in October and November.

The Cybils shortlists come out Jan 1st. Just for fun, here are my personal shortlists:

Fiction Picture Books:
Magritte’s Marvelous Hat by D. B. Johnson
Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems
Because Amelia Smiled by David Ezra Stein
Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
More by I. C. Springman
Squid and Octopus: Friends for Always by Tao Nyeu
Oh, No! by Candace Fleming
Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp! by Wynton Marsalis

Non-Fiction Picture Books
Brothers at Bat by Audrey Vernick
Bird Talk by Lita Judge
The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins
If You Lived Here by Giles Larouche
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
Minette’s Feast by Susannah Reich

I didn’t read widely enough in any other category to really be able to come up with a shortlist. However, I’d love to see What Came Before the Stars and Horten’s Incredible Illusions on the Fantasy and Science Fiction shortlist and Code Name Verity on the Young Adult shortlist.

What juvenile books would you like to see shortlisted for end of the year awards?

One thought on “December Armchair Cybils

  1. Wow! You’ve read a lot, Alice! As you know, we LOVED Oh, No! And I had that new Klassen book from the library but never hot around to reading it before taking it back. Like you, though, I wasn’t a huge fan of the first one, anyway.

    I hope Code Name Verity is short listed. I haven’t followed any of the YA stuff much, but that surely can’t be bested by many!

    I’m so glad you’re playing along!

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