The point is to award the book (or books) that deserved a nod from Newbery. This is not to detract from the medal and honor winners, but to say Hey, WTF! to the author who deserved to be honored as well. Historically, honor books have not been restricted to a set number (they have ranged from zero to five). I understand that the committee wishes to distinguish the very best by keeping the count low, but come on. Even winners can tie.
And so, it is with heartfelt appreciation for the Meryl Streep of children's literature that I award the first annual Platinum WTF Award to.....
Could it be, as many had anticipated, that the second book in a series would run off the rails? Well, tell that to Susan Cooper who won a Newbery honor and medal for THE DARK IS RISING and THE GREY KING respectively. Or...dig up Laura Ingalls Wilder, who won a whopping five honors.
No, there is no good reason why FORGE was left off the podium. As part of a series, it stood alone. There was no confusion about events that came before the book, and the ending was a classic leave-em-begging-for-more that is not restricted to series, but should be an element of all great books.
As alluded to above, I tend to think it's a case of MSS—Meryl Streep Syndrome. Everyone knows Laurie Halse Anderson is a gifted writer who is guaranteed to deliver a stellar performance. The Committee, like the Academy, may be wooed by the element of surprise...the authors or books they didn't see coming. Such is the curse of fabulousity.
While I'm at it, I'd like to present a retroactive Platinum WTF to....
It's true that Barbara O'Connor's little delinquents-in-the-making go nuts over HOW TO STEAL A DOG, but who cares what kids think? GREETINGS FROM NOWHERE is simply too good not to have received a Newbery.
That's it for the 2011 Platinum WTF Award. Until next year...don't forget to tell an author you feel was overlooked that you think s/he is fabulous.