105 Ways to Give a Book

2008 Weird-Ass Picture Book Awards

Weird-Ass Picture Book AwardWow. There’s an excitement in the air in anticipation of the Weird-Ass Picture Books Awards for 2008. Well, I can feel it and I’m all a-tingle. No, hold it. That’s my cell phone.

It’s important to note that the designation of “weird-ass” is not necessarily a bad thing. Some books in their very strangeness reach new heights of art and storytelling. I’d like to think that this year’s winners have given us something to think about — or at the very least, made us go, “Hmmmm.” Here are the winners.

New SocksThe WAPB Award for Cover Art goes to:

New Socks, by Bob Shea
In the words of Fuse#8, “This may well be the very first hipster picture book I’ve encountered, published in the last five years.” In my words, “How funky is your chicken?”

Bow Wow Bugs a BugThe WAPB Award for Illustration goes to:

Bow Wow Bugs a Bug, by Mark Newgarden and Megan Montague Cash
This wordless book starts off pretty normal, with a dog tracking a bug. Things get stranger as two dogs with two bugs meet and greet as dogs usually do, to put it gently. Then it gets stranger and stranger and stranger. Lots of fun, but totally weird.

Five Little GefiltesThe WAPB Award for Story goes to:

Five Little Gefiltes, by Dave Horowitz
Taking the format of Five Little Ducks, Horowitz uses gefiltes instead to positively wacky effect, using lots of Yiddish colloquialisms. I’m not sure this book will play in Peoria, but it will have fans in Brooklyn. Oy vey!

Cowboy and OctopusAnd the 2008 Award for Best Weird-Ass Picture Book goes to:

Cowboy and Octopus, by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
To address the intrinsic weirdness of this book, you need go no further than the title Cowboy and Octopus. This surreal pairing of friends leads to a truly strange book in story and illustrations, making it a masterpiece even in the world of WAPB. Bravo!

Congratulations to all our winners.

While The Alphabet from A to Y With Bonus Letter Z! written by Steve Martin and illustrated by Roz Chast, was nominated and considered, ultimately it was rejected by the committee (uh, me) as being an adult book in children’s picture book clothing, and therefore ineligible for the award. Plus it sucked.

The Boy With Two Belly Buttons, by Stephen Dubner, illustrated by Christoph Niemann, was also considered for storyline, but as it turns out the book is just bad, not weird. What luck, though, that it can be viewed in its entirety at Amazon. If I’d had to leave my computer to assess the book, I’d have been ticked off.

Thanks for being part of the 2008 WAPBAs. Start looking for contenders for next year. I’ve already seen two possible nominees and it’s barely March, so it could be a stellar year for the strange. Let’s say, for the wonderfully strange.
Category: 16 comments


Jenny said...

Interesting. Nancy Pearl thought the Steve Martin book was wonderful. Now that I've read your thoughts, I'm more intrigued about it. I may actually have to read it now because two librarians I greatly respect have such different opinions on it.

And, I love Cowboy & Octopus. But I have to admit that it took a few readings for me to fall for it.

Julie said...

Thanks, Mother Reader. I love these awards!

Megan Germano said...

BRAVO! and I totally agree with Cowboy and Octopus, but I still loved its weirdness.

Anonymous said...

LMAO at plus it sucked
One of my favorite parts in Cowboy and Octopus is when they shake hands. Just thinking about it makes me laugh


Anonymous said...

I can feel it and I’m all a-tingle. No, hold it. That’s my cell phone. You slay me.

Excellent pick. And I adore the winning selection, and hope that you've alerted his royal highness, the ambassador of children's books, about his weird-ass win!

Anonymous said...

I think the thing is that I really, really like Weird-Ass Picture Books. I really enjoyed Bow Wow Bugs a Bug, and I cannot get enough of the absurdism of Cowboy and Octopus. The other children's librarian at WPL and I have read it with two voices in storytimes on a few occasions, and we always crack ourselves up. The children tolerate it. Some of them laugh, but it might just be because we are. Hard to say.

Bill said...

New Socks just make me laugh! I love that little chicken's attitude, and who hasn't introduced a new pair of socks to wood floors by sliding. As I told the kids in the library I love this book because it's just silly fun!

Kelly said...

Great ceremony, MR!

(I would say there's some good in the Martin/Chast outing; I thought some of Martin's verse was quite good. Still WAPB AND for adults.)

Robin Brande said...

I don't write picture books, but if I did I'd be totally honored to win an award named this. Excellent public service you're performing here.

laurasalas said...

Love this. Going to have to check these WAPBs out. I do love Cowboy & Octopus.

Andrea Beaty said...

Hurray! I love your WAPB awards! They rock!

Andrea Beaty

Anonymous said...

Woo and hoo for the winner!

Jules, 7-Imp

Anonymous said...

MotherReader, I yoinked your post and copied it to both my blogs (with attribution!). Love your wonderfully eclectic blog!

Unknown said...

I didn't like the Steve Martin one much, myself. Cowboy & Octopus went over big in our house, but we have a six year old who got the puns.

I'm about to review Bagel's Lucky Hat on Pink Me, and I would really like to call it a WAPM, attributed to you of course. Let me know if that's ok.

MotherReader said...

YNL, I almost picked Bagel's Lucky Hat for the cover art award, and then I thought that maybe it wasn't quite enough - even though the big eyes creeped me out. Glad to know that it actually is a WAPB on the inside as well. Feel free to use the designation.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I have to get my hands on the Five Gefiltes!