The Waterstones Children's Book Prize--a sff perspective

The Waterstones Children's Book Prize shortlists have been announced, and, as is my sci fi/fantasy driven wont, I went through them to see what sff books were included. It's often the case that this list includes books published in the UK but not here yet, which makes for interesting browsing, and this year, at least for the ages 5-12 set of books, is no exception.

Claude in the City, by Alex T. Smith. "Claude is no ordinary dog - he leads an extraordinary life! When Mr and Mrs Shinyshoes set off for work, Claude decides what adventure he wants to have that day. Today he and Sir Bobblysock go to the city for the very first time. The have tea in a cafe, go shopping and visit a museum. It is all very normal until...Claude accidentally foils a robbery and becomes the local hero!"

Muncle Trogg, by Janet Foxley "Giants live on top of Mount Grumble, hidden from humans below. But not all of them are big. Muncle Trogg is so small that he's laughed at by the others for being human-sized. Fed up, he decides to take a look at the 'Smallings' that he's meant to look like. But what he discovers is very surprising indeed...Winner of The Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition 2010, "Muncle Trogg" is the charming upside down fairytale about a tiny giant who saves the day."

The Windvale Sprites, by MacKenzie Crook. "When a storm sweeps through the country, Asa wakes up the next day to find that his town is almost unrecognisable - trees have fallen down, roofs have collapsed and debris lies everywhere. But amongst the debris in his back garden Asa makes an astounding discovery - the body of a small winged creature. A creature that looks very like a fairy. Do fairies really exist? Asa embarks on a mission to find out. A mission that leads him to the lost journals of local eccentric Benjamin Tooth who, two hundred years earlier, claimed to have discovered the existence of fairies. What Asa reads in those journals takes him on a secret trip to Windvale Moor, where he discovers much more than he'd hoped to..."

Sky Hawk, by Gill Lewis (which looked like a possible fantasy, and even sounded like one in the blurb) is the UK title of Wild Wings. Which isn't.

The other two books in this age bracket are Milo and the Restart Button, and The Brilliant World of Tom Gates.

There's only one sff book in the teenaged books, which is too bad-- Divergent, by Veronica Roth, a US export. There's the UK cover at right--very different. I love the crows/ravens, but can't remember them from the book (but I only read the first 2/3, so maybe they swoop down toward the end?)

Here's a link to the Wikipedia entry for past shortlists...it's interesting to see which books travel from the UK to the US, and vice versa (and probaby from Austalia as well, but I didn't see any on the list that I recognized as such).


  1. Sky Hawk, by Gill Lewis (which looked like a possible fantasy, and even sounded like one in the blurb) is the UK title of Wild Wings. Which isn't.

    It isn't fantasy, but it is a fantastic read. I read the first chapter online and was hooked. I happily found its U.S. incarnation at a local library, but would have bought the UK version if I hadn't. Perfect for animal-loving middle grade readers.

  2. I have been looking at it rather wistfully in the library....I kind of wish I didn't have so many books to read at home!


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