1998 Blue Ribbons
It is nearly impossible to isolate the specific combination of attributes that makes a book a Bulletin Blue Ribbon. Fortunately, the books that are unanimously selected for the list early in the discussion process (and there are some titles that are unan imously selected, despite the disparate tastes of the committee members) set the tone for what will join them. When we are weary of literary chat and doggedly hanging on to our most treasured titles, someone will invariably say, "But how does this book c ompare to the books already named for the list?" It's a good question, and one that, more often than not, pushes a questionable title one way or the other. Here is the list of Bulletin Blue Ribbon books for 1998, including two late entries from 1997. T here are picture books, fiction, nonfiction, and even a couple of easy readers. We think these titles exemplify those elusive qualities that make a book stand out from the rest, even if the rest are very, very good. Happy New Year.
Janice M. Del Negro, Editor
In order to earn his princess, a young man must retrieve three hairs from the devil's head.
The art's lyrical line and rich, even metallic hues makes this vibrant retelling of the Japanese folktale a most elegant picture book.
Feiffer's sassy cartooning invigorates the saga of a girl's frenzied (and amusing) search for her misplaced toy bear.
When a series of curly-tailed felines get stuck up her tree, Nana Quimby discovers that cat rescue is no longer within the purview of various community entities.
A legendary Buddhist nun makes an unlikely but terrific martial-arts superhero.
Shannon's spiky, wayward art and minimal text shows pell-mell toddlerhood at its truest.
In this crystalline paean to the magic of a snowfall, a small boy knows, despite adult scoffing, that snow is coming to his wintry city.
Pete's dad chases away the rainy-day blues by carefully making his son into a pretend pizza.
The fourth wise man finds that helping the needy perpetually prevents him from joining the other three yet ultimately brings him to what he seeks.
Monkeys who'd rather play than plan feature in this irresistably chantable story in verse.
Two chummy heifers demonstrate unbovine interest in the human world, resulting in inspired and easy-reading humor.
Zelda and Ivy (a pair of fox sisters) have a sibling relationship recognizable both in its storminess and its loving undercurrent.
Alicia gains a new view of the world when a pair of American anthropologists come to stay in her Peruvian jungle village.
Jenna joins up with the president of the shoe company she works for on a boundary-breaking road trip and an attempt to save the company.
Amanda's year of change results in a new understanding of complicated family dynamics and her own potential.
Young Marjan's storytelling abilities are called upon by her idol, Shahrazad, who fears that she's running out of the stories that keep her husband from killing her.
Trapped in the shadow of three siblings who died long ago, Holland and Geneva find help from a young woman who breezes into their lives just when they need her most.
This classic storm-tossed adventure pits young John Spencer against a community of shipwreckers in eighteenth-century Cornwall.
The pirate's son, a school classmate of his, and the classmate's mousy sister find a new existence in the southern seas as they settle in Madagascar and defend themselves from marauding pirates.
Luke is torn between his love of baseball and his loyalty to his minister father, who disapproves both of the game and of his son's reliance on his sinister left hand.
Stanley Yelnats' incarceration in a juvenile correctional facility sets off the fulfillment of a century's worth of destiny.
Zoe and C.J. each take a turn at narrating the emotionally fraught saga of these seventh-graders' shifting frendships and aching self-doubts.
After being acquitted of murder in the death of his girlfriend, David realizes that his young cousin has her own history to protect in this psychological thriller.
A first tender love affair ends in tragedy in this story of Ellie and Miah's interracial romance.
Excerpts from Byrd's diary are effectively combined with description and windblown oils to evoke the explorer's famous solitary stay.
Colman's personal yet factual approach to death and its aftermath provides a fascinating overview of how the world deals with the inescapable end.
Expressive characters and an imaginative collection of rhymes familiar and surprising make this a nursery near-necessity.
In an account that includes sociology, politics, history, and science, Farrell details humanity's struggle with seven world-altering infectious diseases.
Stunning photography of Graham on the terpsichorean wing is matched by Freedman's masterly chronicle of the artist's dramatic life.
"Up close" proves to be a rewarding way to meet this important contemporary artist and his portraiture.
The particularity and honesty of Lobel's account of her Holocaust experiences makes this memoir memorable indeed.
Mark's confidential, storytelling tone makes the prickly relationship between God and his human creation come alive in this retelling of biblical legend and midrash.
Martin's crisp, delicate prose is snowflake-perfect for this gentle biography of self-taught scientist and pioneering snowflake photographer Wilson Bentley.
The formatting and artwork are elegant but the prose is lively and colloquial in this unusual collection.
McCurdy's stark woodcuts set the tone for this selective yet wide-ranging poetry compilation.
High-spirited and new-wavy illustrations add a zany touch to this toothsome and genuinely edifying piece of anthropology.
The eternally fascinating saint gets the Stanley treatment, with available fact and examination of the legend expanding her story.
Brilliantly conceived structures bring apparently impossible images to photographic life in this blend of puzzle book and conceptual exploration.
This page was last updated on January 1, 1999.