100 Scope Notes
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2012 Children’s Lit: The Year in Miscellanea

It’s time to take a look back at the year that was in children’s lit miscellanea.

Most Disgusting Moment in a Picture Book

Puking off the crows nest in Pirate Princess by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen; illustrated by Jill McElmurry

Throwing up on the captain of a pirate ship? That’s a walk-the-plank-able offense.


Best Spine Logo

Roaring Brook Press for BOMB by Steve Sheinkin

I didn’t notice this right away, but you have to love how the Roaring Brook logo on Bomb looks like how it might appear in the periodic table.


Most Relaxed

My daughter, reading a book at our local book store

While on a book run with my three year old daughter, I came around the corner to see this:

Yes, her shoes are off.

The Contrast Award (given to the most uncontroversial thing that caused the most controversy)


In Extra Yarn, the main character’s upside-down knitting form caused a stir among Caldecott-watchers.


Best T-shirt

I Am Not Eric Carle

But only when worn by Norton Juster (left) and Barry Moser (right). You can see how things might get confusing with Mr. Carle in the vicinity of these two. Or is it all a secret body double hoax?

(via The Eric Carle Museum Facebook page)


Paper Type of the Year

Graph paper

In 2012, more than ever, I noticed graph paper in use in picture books. The Chicken Problem, Mario Makes a Move, and Sky of Afghanistan are but a few examples.


Best Use of Blue LEGOs

Pigeon sculpture

Cartoonist Mark Anderson made what has to be the best children’s lit-related LEGO sculpture to date. Side note: how cool would this be on the shelf? Librarians demand a kit for this!


Word of the Year


With Random House and Penguin soon to join forces, and others rumored to follow, the publishing world may soon look a lot different.

Saddest Trend of the Year

The greats passing

In the span of 12 months, the children’s literature world lost Maurice Sendak, Leo Dillon, Jean Craighead George, Margaret Mahey, Donald J. Sobol, Else Holmelund Minarik, Remy Charlip, Jan Berenstain, and Peter Seiruta.


Best Matisse Reference

Art on the wall of the dinosaur’s house in Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs

Mo Willems sneaks an homage to one of the greats in his latest book.


Most Depressed Children’s Lit Character


There’s more to Waldo than his location, folks.

By Paul Noth for The New Yorker


Jawline of the Year, Young Adult Novel

Dude on the cover of Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Be careful, ladies.


The Nobody was Looking Award

The copyright page in Zero the Hero by Joan Holub and Tom Lichtenheld

The check digits giving a subtle shout-out to the topic of the book.


Coincidence of the Year

Z is for Moose and A is for Musk Ox

The unintentional similarity between these two picture books was such that it prompted a Publishers Weekly article on the topic. The best part? They’re both great books.


Minimalist Award

This is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Title, author, a tiny fish, and a few bubbles – I can’t say I remember seeing less on a picture book cover. It makes for a striking presence on the shelf.


Double Take Award (Runner Up)

Jonathan and Martha by Petr Horácek

The first time I saw this book, I thought Eric Carle was responsible.


Double Take Award

This is Not My Hat and A Strange Place to Call Home


Best Wedding Invitations

The Giving Tree invitations

Or, depending on who you ask, the most disturbing.


Most Entertaining Children’s Book Article from an Unexpected Place

Lev Grossman for TIME.com

I thoroughly enjoyed Grossman’s outsider’s observations of children’s lit.


Children’s Lit Tattoo of the Year

Tie: Harriet the Spy and Ramona

I think these were on the same person.

(via @sutherlandsuz)

Whew! Award

A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel

Hope Larson did this children’s classic right with a faithful adaptation.


Book Spine of the Year

Pickle by Kim Baker; illustrated by Tim Probert. Jacket Design by Andrew Arnold

Every time I look at my shelf, this book just keeps jumping out. The colors, the font, the upright letter positioning – it’s all working. Simple and effective.


Best Use of the Internet

Putting Newbery and Caldecott acceptance speeches online

The annual Newbery and Caldecott medal acceptance speeches are always a sight to see. Thanks to the fine folks at ALA and ALSC for putting them online so more people can do just that. Click here for Newbery. Click here for Caldecott.


Best Appearance by Jack Gantos in Someone’s Past

A young Jarrett J Krosoczka meets Jack Gantos

I loved the entirety of illustrator Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s moving TEDx talk. One part in particular that stood out was the impact a Jack Gantos author visit had on the youngster.


Best Bookmark

Student-created FBI bookmark

I’m not sure how you top this. Left in a book at one of my schools.


Worst Bookmark

Another book

This is official – voted on back in February during The Battle of the Bad Bookmarks. It faced some stiff competition from, among others, a bandage, but came out on top.


Best Alternative Use of a Date Due Stamp

Date due artwork

This was a strong year for book-related videos, and this one wins for most incredible.

The Everywhere Award

Book cover illustrator Erwin Madrid

Everywhere you turned there was a new eye-catching cover from Erwin Madrid. Here’s a sampling:


Oddest Mash-Up Award

National Geographic Angry Birds

I did not expect this.


Best Book-Related Stop Motion Video of the Year (Runner Up)

Yale University Card Catalog

A massive card catalog and a stop motion animation – this is a retro-lover’s dream.


Best Book-Related Stop Motion Video of the Year

The Joy of Books

This video, created by the fine folks at the Type Bookstore in Toronto, made a splash on the internet in a big way – 3 million hits and counting.


The You Can’t Do This With an E-Book Award

How Many Jelly Beans by Andrea Menotti; illustrated by Yancey Lebat

A screen would do no justice to the large size and massive pullout of this book.


Most Unexpected

Maurice Sendak on The Colbert Report

In an appearance that proved to be a swan song of sorts, the children’s lit legend sat down for a typically ridiculous Colbert interview at Sendak’s house. It was a lot of fun. Click here for part I. Click here for part II.


Best Toenail Clipping

Being Frank by Donna W. Earnhardt; illustrated by Andrea Castellani

A while back I heard tell of a toenail-clipping scene in a picture book from John Schumacher on Twitter. A couple weeks ago I happened to come upon the scene he was talking about. An out-of-left-field moment.


Book Video of the Year

Much Better Now

This short film was created by the Portuguese visual production studio Salon Alpin in 2010, but made the film festival rounds this year. How can you deny a surfing bookmark?

 Read previous Year in Miscellanea Posts:





About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Best year-end list? 100 Scope Notes! Thanks, this was so much fun!

  2. Travis, what fun! I love this so much I posted it on my blog today. My favorite part? Your daughter kicking her shoes off and getting comfy in the bookstore, because that’s what it’s really all about. Thanks for taking the time to create this remarkable post!

  3. Lurrrrrrve this!

    Also, I think INFINITY AND ME used graph paper as well? (And probably a bunch of others obvi, but that one jumped to mind)

  4. A bandaid bookmark? Eww. Great list, Travis. Thanks for giving me hours of fun procrastination, following all your links!

  5. Tom Angleberger says

    A great post! Much to rejoice about here!

    But… it was indeed a sad year. In addition to the greats that you listed, Sam Youd AKA John Christopher also passed away this year.
    He was 30 years ahead of the game on the dystopia/post-apocalyptic craze… The Tripods, The Sword of the Spirits, Empty World, Wild Jack, The Guardians… and I’d love to see new editions of all of these so that today’s young readers can re-discover his amazing work, which blew/opened my mind from the sixth grade onwards.

  6. This is the best year end list of KidLIt miscellany EVER!

  7. So much fine material in this post, Travis! Some I had seen before, and some I had not. This post, more than most, makes me happy that I am becoming a children’s librarian.

  8. This really bowled me over – what a fun & quirky compilation of the best of the best in kids lit. Really enjoyed!

  9. This is truly awesome! The depth of it is impressive. If you go watch all the videos, you would have an entire afternoon of enjoyment when you should be working! I particularly liked the photo of your daughter in her native environment (the bookstore).

  10. Debbie Robl says

    This was a wonderful post. Brought back so many great moments in a phenomenal literary year. I enjoyed revisiting many and discovering a few that I missed. Looking forward to more in 2013!

  11. Thanks for the smiles.

  12. So fun! Thanks for sharing

  13. This was awesome – just what I needed on a very long Friday :)

  14. Nothing wrong with the knitting needles in Extra Yarn . They are not “upside down.” This is called Continental knitting. The English knit this way and Europeans.


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