Thursday, January 8, 2009

Looking for Newbery - Day 14

My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath has been mentioned on several Mock Newbery lists, and has been reviewed by many other bloggers.

I understand why people love it. Descriptive phrases like:

"The library in summer is the most wonderful thing because there you get books on any subject and read them each for only as long as they hold your interest, abandoning any that don't, halfway or a quarter of the way through if you like, and store up all that knowledge in the happy corners of your mind for your own self and not to show off how much you know or spit it back at your teacher on a test paper." (also mentioned by Franki at A Year of Reading in her review)


"Mrs. Merriweather probably wouldn't understand this... She has had another sort of day and will never know ours. Suddenly I realize that everyone in the whole world is, at the end of the day, staring at a dusky horizon, owner of a day that no one else will ever know."


"I know Sunday is supposed to be the beginning of the week but my mother's Sunday tranquility makes it feel as if we are putting the week to bed, pulling the covers up under its chin, blessing what has been and closing its eyes for sleep."


"It is such a luxury to be read to. Not to have to make a response or remember any of it and keep my attention focused."


"Is this what it is to get old, to have adventures you can no longer tell your family because you are moving apart from them? Is this why my mother likes to have Ned around, so that she has someone to whom she can always tell her adventures? Or do you grow up and have adventures you tell no one? Are some adventures only yours alone?"

So, I personally really loved the descriptive writing of this book. But, in the back of my mind, I always read and wonder how a book would appeal to my 5th graders. In the case of My One Hundred Adventures, I worry that the adult characters have so many layers and complexity to them, that it would be hard for a 5th grader to always understand their motivations.

That being said, I would entirely understand if this lovely book by Polly Horvath would win a Newbery. Horvath certainly does have a way with words, to say the least! :) In addition, the ocean is such an important setting in this story, and for those of you who have read my past blogs, you know I'm a sucker for stories set on water.

I will say, the further along Bill and I get in this Looking for Newbery fun, the more I realize how much I don't envy the choices the Newbery committee will be making. There are so many excellent books that have been written this year! To single out a few must be an incredibly difficult task! I'm just having a great time reading some wonderful books along the way!!


  1. I am reading (and loving) this one right now, but I agree on that the book may have a lack of appeal for kids. It does focus so heavily on adult characters. The writing is just so wonderful; I feel like my mind is being wrapped around such wonderful images while I'm reading it. Thanks for doing the countdown to the Newbery! I've enjoyed reading your thoughts and have put several books on my "to read" list.

  2. Karen and Bill, I am enjoying reading all these postings about "Looking for Newbery" You guys are doing a terrific job keeping all of us so well informed about these possible winners. THank you! and BRAVO for a job WELL DONE!