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And the winner is...
Tensions ran high at this week's meeting, when it became time to choose our winning book. We all had our own favourite and we were determined not to give it up in favour of something else! But that's what being a judge is all about, and we began the painful process of eliminating the books and deciding who would be a worthy winner. We looked back at all the books we've read and talked about the different illustration styles used in each one. Eventually, we narrowed it down to our two favourites: Smelly Louie and Tinder. One final vote decided it for us, and the Rockcliffe Readers Greenaway winner this year is...... Tinder by Sally Gardner! Her spooky illustrations and clever use of colour won us over. Now we're just waiting to see if the real judges agree with us.
Posted on: 17 Jun 2015

Jim's Lion and Dark Satanic Mills
Our attention turned to comic book style this week with Jim's Lion and Dark Satanic Mills. We explored how stories can be told with no words at all, or just with dialogue.We also talked about the huge differences between the looks of the two books - Jim's Lion looks bright and cheerful from the cover, while Dark Satanic Mills is entirely black and white. For once, we all agreed on our favourite book of the week - Jim's Lion won us round with its animals and mix of styles.
Posted on: 02 Jun 2015

Fiction or non-fiction?
Fiction or non-fiction? This was the tricky question we had to ask ourselves this week, as we read The Promise and Shackleton's Journey. We enjoyed the story of The Promise and it was lovely to see the grey, dull city come alive with colourful plants and animals as we turned each page. Lily thought that the people in the city didn't care very much about each other in the beginning, but by the end they all seemed to be much nicer. We were surprised to find out that Shackleton's Journey was a non-fiction book because it looked just like a story from the cover - we are more used to seeing photographs and diagrams in non-fiction books, so William Grill's pencil drawings were really interesting to explore. We especially liked all the dogs! In the end, it turned out that the answer to our question was fiction, as with 5 votes to 1, The Promise was our favourite this week.
Posted on: 19 May 2015

And we're off!
Today was the first meeting of this year's Rockcliffe Readers. This time we have 7 members - Anna, Fran, Jessica, Lily, Molly C, Molly S and Scarlett. We all love reading so this is a great chance for us to get stuck into some new books and discover what it's really like to be a Greenaway judge. This week we looked at Smelly Louie by Catherine Rayner, and Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan. We really liked the way that poor old Louie kept getting darker and darker until he ended up all pink and clean again at the end! We liked looking at the different methods Catherine had used to draw Louie at each stage. Then we spent a long time looking at some of the pictures in Rules of Summer. Anna and Molly noticed there was a crow on every page, and Lily spotted that all the creatures in the story appeared in the boy's drawings on the wall at the end. At the end of the meeting, we each chose our favourite and counted up the votes - it was a close one, but Smelly Louie wins this time with 4 votes to Rules of Summer's 3.
Posted on: 12 May 2015

Our favourite books
During our final session, we also each chose our favourite book from the shortlist. Here are our favourites: Ted - Black Dog; James - Again!; Cait - Again!; Amelia - Pirates and Pistols; Adam - Black Dog; Erin - Oh No George!; Toni - Oh No George!; Tilly - Pirates and Pistols. Thank you to Tess for helping us become expert judges, and for sharing the books with us over the last few weeks. We have loved every second!
Posted on: 09 Jun 2013

The final judging session
This week was our last meeting. Having looked at all the books, it was time for us to make our final choice. We skimmed through all of the books on the shortlist to remind ourselves of what we liked and didn't like about them, and divided them into a yes and a no pile through majority voting. This was when it began to become heartbreaking, when some of our favourites were rejected by others! Finally, through secret ballot, we chose our winner: Again! by Emily Gravett. We loved all the visual jokes in this book, and the book-within-a-book concept. We kept finding new things to look at and it was a popular choice for all of us. Now we're just waiting with baited breath to see if the CKG judging panel agree with us...
Posted on: 09 Jun 2013

Again! and King Jack and the Dragon
Today was a very dragon-themed judging session as we explored Again! and King Jack and the Dragon. With both illustrators having won the Greenaway Award before, we knew that we were in for a treat. We loved the inventiveness of Emily Gravett's book-within-a-book, and how she had used texture and little details to make us laugh and make her story extra special. In King Jack and the Dragon, we spotted some pencil shading techniques that we have been practising ourselves in art lessons, like cross hatching. We noticed similarities between this book and a very popular favourite - Where the Wild Things Are. The monsters made us laugh but we were also a little bit scared for Jack as well towards the end. A tough choice but this week there was a clear favourite - we want to read about Emily Gravett's dragons Again! and Again!
Posted on: 15 May 2013

Lunchtime and Just Ducks!
This week we focused on Lunchtime by Rebecca Cobb and Just Ducks! by Nicola Davies and Salvatore Rubbino. We loved the mix of fiction and non-fiction in Just Ducks! and eagle-eyed readers spotted how the illustrator had used colour to draw attention to the main characters even when they were in the background of a scene. The not-very-scary animals in Lunchtime made us laugh and we spent a while debating whether the little girl's drawings had really come to life and eaten her lunch, or if it was all in her imagination. But if they were imaginary, how was she so hungry in the afternoon...? Another enjoyable afternoon of reading, but Just Ducks! was our winner this week.
Posted on: 08 May 2013

Black Dog and Oh No George!
Tonight was our first chance to try out our new judging skills on some of the shortlisted books. We looked at two books this week that both featured dogs, but otherwise were very different - Black Dog and Oh No George! We loved the detailed illustrations of Black Dog, and especially enjoyed spotting objects that kept appearing in each picture. We thought it was a bit scary and that the illustrations helped create the atmosphere of the story. We can't decide if the dog is magic, or if Small is magic - or maybe there's another explanation... Oh No George! was a lot of fun to read and made us laugh a lot. George reminded some of us of our own dogs, and we couldn't help but like him even if he was a bit naughty! We liked the cartoon style and the bold colour choices, but we still haven't decided if George chose to do the right thing at the end or not! Our end of meeting vote was very close, but Black Dog came out as our winning choice so far.
Posted on: 01 May 2013

Our first meeting
On Wednesday we had our first shadowing group meeting. This was our first chance to all get together and find out about the Greenaway Award and the books on the shortlist. We are extra excited to be working with Tess Macpherson from North Tyneside Libraries during our shadowing; Tess is the North East's judge for CKG this year so we are hoping for some top tips! She told us what kind of things she is looking at as a judge, and about all the reading she has been doing to make sure she chooses the right winner. We practised our new judging skills on Polly Dunbar's Arthur's Dream Boat - we loved spotting how all the things from Arthur's house made their way into his dream! Then we had a sneaky peek at the books on the Greenaway shortlist. Tess had wrapped them in clingfilm so that we couldn't look inside! We thought about what the titles and covers told us, and made guesses about what might happen in each story. We can't wait to find out if we're right!
Posted on: 25 Apr 2013