Of course, our Caldecott Club isn't really a true Mock Caldecott (now there's a funny turn of phrase -- a "true mock"...). We've developed simplified "kid-friendly" Caldecott criteria, and we have kids as young as three years old discussing the books and then voting on them.
Because we have such young children participating, we also can't discuss some of the longer and/or meatier possibilities, although I have tried to at least briefly mention books like Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker, written by Patricia Hruby Powell and illustrated by Christian Robinson and Grandfather Gandhi, written by Bethany Hegedus and illustrated by Evan Turk.
Which books win as our finalists also depend on what books they're "competing" against, of course. For example, The Iridescence of Birds won over Viva Frida, written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, Draw!, written and illustrated by Raul Colon, and Josephine. (To be fair, we just breezed through the illustrations in Josephine, which was for an older age group than most of the young participants in our Caldecott Club that night.)
If a Caldecott winner can be judged by the amount of audience participation and reaction as it's being read, then Sam & Dave Dig a Hole could be a shoo-in. The kids at our Caldecott Club were practically shouting at Sam and Dave to change digging directions as we read the book together via our ELMO document camera and the big screen (great for groups like this, as everyone can really see the illustrations).
Best of all, we're all going to get to see Jon Klassen in person on Sunday, Nov. 23, at 1 p.m. My library, the Takoma Park Maryland Library, serves as an alternate venue for Politics & Prose Bookstore, which allows us to host top name children's authors like Jon Klassen. On Nov. 23, Jon will actually be reading and discussing Sam & Dave Dig a Hole in our library's Children's Room -- we can't wait! If you live near the Washington, D.C. area, please join us for this extra-special event. Politics & Prose Bookstore will be selling Jon's books, but no purchase is required for this free program.
End Notes: Thanks to Dave Burbank, my library colleague who runs the Caldecott Club with me, and does an amazing job both reading our books aloud and managing the ELMO so we can really appreciate the details in the illustrations. And thanks to all the great Caldecott Club members who make it so fun!