Like Karen I was shocked at the announcement of Moon Over Manifest. Not because it wasn't deserving, but because it came out of no where. As I compiled lists of possible winners for kids to read, it never crossed the radar. In conversations at Cover to Cover, it never crossed the radar. After I finished reading it, I liked it, but it never crossed the radar.
I guess that's what makes this Looking for Newbery so fun. Some years we nail it and everyone knows before the big announcement. Then there are years like this one when we are totally surprised and everyone walks around saying "Where did that come from?"
I can proudly say that I read 3 out of 5, including the winner. I also read and blogged about Turtle in Paradise and One Crazy Summer. I have Dark Emperor waiting for pick up at Cover to Cover, so that has to count for something.
As far as the Caldecott, I was completely out. I actually read Interrupting Chicken in THE PIT and liked it, but sort of forgot about it. I like it a lot.
It appears you enjoyed our series again, Karen and I are still debating whether we'll be doing it next year, but vote is in the yes column.