Children's Features

The 2000 Cuffies
Children's booksellers choose their favorite (and not-so-favorite) books of the year

For PW's 11th annual Off-the-Cuff Awards, we polled booksellers in a variety of categories. The winners (and bookseller comments, where appropriate) appear below.

Favorite Picture Book of the Year
Olivia by Ian Falconer
Favorite Novel of the Year
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
(Honorable mentions: Because of Winn-Dixie byKate DiCamillo; Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan; The Wanderer by Sharon Creech)

Most Unusual Picture Book
Little Lit, edited by Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly

Best Book Title
Miss Alaineus by Debra Frasier
(Honorable mentions: A Is for Salad by Mike Lester and Click, Clack, Moo by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Betsy Lewin)

Best Opening Line
"My name is India Opal Buloni, and last summer my daddy, the preacher, sent me to the store for a box of macaroni-and-cheese, some white rice, and two tomat s and I came back with a dog." (Because of Winn-Dixie)

Funniest Picture Book
Click, Clack, Moo

Funniest Novel
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison

Most Memorable Character in a Lead Role

Best Sequel
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Title Most Often Requested
"Harry Potter, of course"

Most Promising New
Kate DiCamillo

Most Promising New
Ian Falconer
(Honorable mention: D.B. Johnson)

Best Bet to Win the Newbery Medal (tie)
Because of Winn-Dixie
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
(Honorable mention: The Wanderer)

Best Bet to Win the Caldecott Medal
Madlenka by Peter Sís
(Honorable mentions: How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night? by Jane Yolen, illus by Mark Teague; and Aesop's Fables, illus. by Jerry Pinkney)

Best Work of Nonfiction
So You Want to Be President? by Judith St. George, illus. by David Small

Best Treatment of a Social Issue
The Christmas Gift by Francisco Jimenez
(Honorable mention: I Love You Like Crazy Cakes by Rose Lewis, illus by Jane Dyer)

Best Anthology or Collection
The Serpent Slayer and Other Stories of Strong Women, retold by Katrin Tchana, illus. by Trina Schart Hyman

Best Book of P try
It's Raining Pigs &Noodles by Jack Prelutsky, illus. by James Stevenson
(Honorable mention: Mammalabilia by Douglas Florian)

Best Pop-Up
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, illus. by Robert Sabuda

Best Activity Book/Kit (tie)
The Way Things Work Kit by David Macaulay
My Little Red Toolbox by Stephen T. Johnson

Best Audiobook
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale
(Honorable mention: Holes by Louis Sachar, read by Kerry Beyer)

Favorite Series
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
(Honorable mention: Sammy Keyes by Wendelin Van Draanen)

Best Novel for Older Teens (tie)
Silent to the Bone by E.L. Konigsburg

For Adults, Not for Children (tie)
Made for Each Other by William Steig
Some Things Are Scary by Florence Parry Heide, illus. by Jules Feiffer

Most Disappointing Book by a Favorite Author (in terms of sales)
Crickwing by Janell Cannon

Biggest Flop, Per Publisher's
The Giggler Treatment by Roddy Doyle

Most Objectionable Book
But I Waaannt It! by Dr. Laura Schlessinger
(Honorable mention: "All the badly written celebrity books--you know the ones!")

Most overdone subject
Fantasy ("the attempts to jump on the Harry Potter bandwagon")
(Honorable mentions: divorce; variations on the Cinderella story)

Hottest Selling Book to Go Out of Stock
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
(Honorable mentions: If You Take a Mouse to the Movies by Laura Joffe Numeroff, illus. by Felicia Bond; Henry Hikes to Fitchburg by D.B. Johnson; The Wonderful Wizard of Oz)

Book Happiest to See Back in Print
Angelina Ballerina books by Katharine Holabird, illus. by Helen Craig
(Honorable mentions: Petunia by Roger Duvoisin; Lois Lenski titles; Where's Wallace? by Hilary Knight; Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree by Robert Barry)

Best Publisher Promotional Materials
Candlewick's handselling kits
Random House's Junie B. Jones promotion ("the hairbows went over huge")

Positive New Trends Noticed Among Customers' Habits or Preferences
"More and more adults are falling in love with picture books and giving them to their adult friends. The children's book genre is gaining more appreciation."

"Kids seems to be reading books across all genres--they're less stuck in one 'track' (hooray!)."

"Greater awareness of independent bookstores."

"People are willing to buy hardcovers for YAs!"

"Thanks to Harry Potter, we're seeing a trend toward kids reading fantasy, and not being intimidated by large books."

"More customers say that they've stopped buying online and in chain stores."

Negative New Trends Noticed Among Customers' Habits or Preferences
"More parents want books that teach towards standardized testing."

"Parents dropping off their children to be entertained."

"Setting horrible children loose in the store to damage everything in sight, getting mad at the staff for nicely redirecting their brat, and then leaving the store after an hour of mayhem without buying anything."

Oddest Request from a Customer
"Do you have any books about puberty that don't have a lot of stuff about sex in them?"

"My friend really hates kids. Do you have a really sappy book as a gag gift?"

Most Garbled Title Requests
Henry Hikes to Pittsburgh

Charlotte's Web by Stuart Little

Most Unusual Comment or Complaint
"No, I don't want Shakespeare. His writing is full of clichés."

"I took a children's lit class several years ago and really enjoyed it, but now that I have children we don't read."

"Why do all these picture books have words?"