The Canadian Broadcast Company has announced the winners of the 2020 Forest of Reading. The winners were selected by over 110,000 readers across Canada. I posted on the nominees last week. The winners are:
BLUE SPRUCE AWARD
That’s Not Hockey by Andree Poulin, illustrated by Felix Girard
SILVER BIRCH EXPRESS AWARD
Megabat by Anna Humphrey, illustrated by Kass Reich
SILVER BIRCH FICTION
The Mystery of Black Hollow Lane by Julia Nobel
YELLOW CEDAR AWARD
Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family
by Van Ho & Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
RED MAPLE AWARD
No Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen
WHITE PINE AWARD
Sadie by Courtney Summers
Rot: The Bravest in the World by Ben Clanton (9781481467643)
This follow-up to Rot: The Cutest in the World is a squirmy, squelchy, muddy read. Rot is a mutant potato and just like all mutant potatoes, he loves mud. They play in it, eat it, even sleep in mud. So when Rot found a massive mud pit, he couldn’t wait to jump right in. But before he can, his older brother Snot tells him to watch out for the Squirm, a monster that lives in deep mud, slimy and gross and hungry! Snot leaves laughing, but Rot is not deterred. He just needs a good plan. Perhaps a superhero costume will make him brave enough? When that wasn’t enough, he adds a knight costume on top, but even that doesn’t work. Perhaps adding something that loves mud too? Soon Rot is dressed up as “Sir Super Rot, the Pigtato!” When he goes back to the puddle, he discovers that there is something squirmy in the mud. Will he be brave enough to find out what it is?
Clanton imbues his picture book with a marvelous sense of humor from beginning to end. At the same time he has created a picture book with a strong story arc with Rot as a central compelling character that children will root for. When he begins to put on costumes to make himself more brave, the humor is there but also a strong sense of empathy for this courageous potato.
As with the first book, the art is bold. It is filled with rich potato and mud browns. The handwritten dialogue is shown in bubbles that look like potatoes too. Keep an eye out for the little pink insect who follows Rot on his adventures.
Squidgy and muddy fun. Appropriate for ages 2-4.
Reviewed from copy provided by Atheneum.
Papa Brings Me the World by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw (9781250159250)
Lulu’s papa travels for a living. When he is about to leave, she tucks notes into his pocket to remind him of her love. In his work as a photojournalist, her papa climbs mountains, swims in oceans, rides camels, and explores the world. He brings Lulu items from his travels like coins from 28 countries. Lulu longs to join him on his travels, but instead she follows his journeys with her mother, using a map on the wall. Sometimes Papa has to miss big events because he is gone, but he always returns. In fact, on his next trip Lulu finally gets to travel along and fill her own journal with her experiences.
In her author’s note at the end of the book, the author speaks of her own childhood growing up in a family with a father whose work took him around the world. Her deep understanding of the mixture of sorrow, pride and longing that the young protagonist feels makes this book all the more poignant and impactful. Her art is done in mixed media, including collage, pencil, acrylics and stamping. The illustrations are rich and layered, offering a glimpse into the life of this busy multiracial family.
A warm and loving look at a father who has a job unlike regular parents. Appropriate for ages 3-5.
Reviewed from copy provided by Henry Holt and Company.