Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Still Round 1

Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan went up against The Good, the Bad and the Barbie by Tanya Lee Stone.  Barry Lyga had to make the decision that sent one book on to round 2.

His decision making process forced him to delve deeply into the skill of the writers and the intent, impact and content of each book.  And it's fun to read as well.  So read what Barry has to say before you go any further.  I'll wait.

Done yet?  Well, if you are done, you don't need me to tell you the results.  And if you DID read what Barry had to say, you are probably just as baffled as I am about his decision.  Did you or did you not think he was going to choose the other book??  I know I did.

Dreamer is the fictionalized account of the Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda's childhood and it is written with touches of magic realism as befits the subject.  The book was a joy to read; I felt as if I was being carried along on a river surrounded by the sounds and sights that the young Neruda experienced.  Neruda's words and Peter Sis' artwork made the whole book even more dreamlike.  This book is a masterpiece.

The Good, the Bad and the Barbie is detailed, structured, and informative to the max - a very complete history of the Barbie doll and the way it influenced popular culture and vice versa.  Peppered with photos and with quotes from Barbie aficianados and critics alike, the book is cleverly written.  And, wait, this book is a masterpiece of an entirely different kind.

It's like comparing a luxury hybrid with a Hummer, or a butterfly with a honey bee, or a glider with a cargo plane or a....Actually, it's not like any of those comparisons.  It's like comparing a novel to a work of non-fiction. 

So, which book moves on to Round 2?  I'm surprised but not entirely baffled by Lyga's choice.  The Winnah! is The Good, the Bad and the Barbie!  (A slight pause is followed by thunderous applause.)

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