Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tournament of Children's Books Championship

At long last we are down to the final two books: The Very Hungry Caterpillar and We're Going on a Bear Hunt.In case you missed how we got to this point, here are links to Day 1, Day 2, the Sweet 16, the Elite 8, and the Final 4. Before we tip-off here's one last look at how we got here:

Click here for a zoomable version..

The Tournament of Children's Books Championship

(1) The Very Hungry Caterpillar versus (4) We're Going on a Bear Hunt
My wife’s family lives about 3 ½ hours away. Being stuck in a car with two kids under two for 3 ½ hours is no one’s idea of a good time. On our most recent trip, after about 2 ½ hours stuck in his car seat James was finished. He was just fussy and wanted the trip to be over with. There’s no room in the car for one of us to be in the backseat to entertain him so out of desperation I tried something different. I started reciting We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.

In addition to the previous virtues assigned to We’re Going on A Bear Hunt in this contest, it also has the benefit of being easy to memorize. You’ve got the main chorus “We’re Going on A Bear Hunt, We’re Gonna Catch a Big One, What a Beautiful Day, We’re Not Scared, OH NO!” and then you encounter the obstacles (Grass, River, Mud, Forest, Snowstorm, Cave) which each have their own sound effects (Swishy Swashy, Splash Splosh, Squelch Squerch, Stumble Trip, Hoo Woo, and Tiptoe). Then you just reverse it when the bear chases you home. Easy!

So as I started reciting the story James calmed down and just listened with wide eyes. Then we got to the cave. I repeated, “Tip Toe Tip Toe Tip Toe! What’s that?!?!? One Shiny wet nose (I see James start smiling in the rear view mirrorDon't worry, he is still rear-facing. We have a mirror on his seat's headrest.), two big furry ears, two big googly eyes, IT’S A BEAR!”. At this point James let out a big growl (He’s always the bear) and had a huge smile on his face. When I finished he immediately made the “more” sign. For the next half hour we kept going on a bear hunt until eventually the little guy nodded off to sleep.

As you might recall The Very Hungry Caterpillar worked wonders on an airplane, but it just wouldn’t have worked in this situation where we didn’t have the book. The visuals in The Very Hungry Caterpillar are very important. For We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, the sound effects are the part that James loves. For allowing us to keep our sanity by keeping James entertained in the most challenging situationDAGGER!, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt takes home the title.


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  2. I'm so happy Bear Hunt won! Kids do LOVE this. I work it into a story time at least once a year. I love this bracket idea and think I might steal it to do a month-long passive program here at the library (maybe in collaboration with the school library?) Have the kids nominate the books they want included. Of course my bracket would have to be GIGANTIC and cover an entire wall in the Children's Department. Nice job!

  3. Thanks Shannon! If you end up doing it I'd love to see pictures of the bracket! I think it would be perfect for March. Too bad it's a year away!