Saturday, January 7, 2017

Mock Geisel: First Ballot Results

A description of the events of the Midwinter Selection Meeting can be found on page 31 of the manual. Where describing the vote, it explains that:

“There is a formula to determine the winner.
A book must receive at least four first place votes at four points per vote for a total of at least 16 points.  In addition, that book must have a four-point lead over the book receiving the next highest number of points.”

Of the seven members of the Real Committee, the four first place votes represent a simple majority of the committee. Our first ever Guessing Geisel Mock selection had 55 participants, making the number required for a simple majority 28 votes. No title received this number of first place votes. With a committee the size of our mock, enough participants to make up nearly 8 years of real committees, it seems improbable that we will be able to meet this threshold. So we look to the second criteria, which requires that the winner have a point lead equivalent to at least one first place vote, which our highest scoring title does not have, with only 2 points over our second highest scoring title!

We must conduct one more round to determine our winner. It is possible that the real committee will have to do so as well. Or, they may have a winning ballot on the first round, in which case they would proceed to “considering whether or not to select Honor Books”.  If the real committee finds themselves “re-balloting,” the manual has this to say:
The committee may not proceed to another ballot without a second round of book discussion.   At this point, certain choices present themselves, and certain procedures apply:
·         By consensus the committee may choose to withdraw from the discussion list all books that received no votes on the first ballot.
·         By consensus the committee may choose to withdraw additional books that received minimal support on the first ballot. “

We included quite a wide range of titles on our suggested list and first ballot. For our second ballot, we will exercise the procedures offered for removing books from consideration (in this case by consensus of your blog hosts). Six of our 46 titles received no votes at all, and 12 received only one vote each. 27 of our titles have less than 10 points. These are good books, even great books. They may even be excellent. But they are not our winner - they do not have the support of our mock committee. And so we will say goodbye to them.

The titles that remain:

Interestingly, this still leaves titles that received no first place votes at all, but received as many as five 2nd and 3rd place votes. These are quite unlikely to come from behind to be determined as our winner here, but have sufficient support to remain on our list so that everyone can complete all three places on their ballot. Just think - if all five of their voters happened to be on the real committee together this title could have sufficient support to rise to the top. 
On to our prime contenders, those titles which our committee, upon review of these first ballot results would need to engage in a second round of discussion. It is no longer enough to demonstrate that these titles are distinguished - one must be determined to be more distinguished than the other by a majority of the committee.

Here on our Mock Committee, our top two apparent contenders provide an engaging contrast. With 14 total votes, 10 first place votes, and 49 total points, They All Saw A Cat holds a strong lead over much of the field. A picture book contender, carrying on the fine tradition of such past winners as You Are (Not) Small, The Watermelon Seed, and Not A Box, They All Saw A Cat has received at least 3 starred reviews and its potential as a Caldecott contender has been discussed on Calling Caldecott. Following very closely - certainly close enough to cause a second ballot - is Go, Otto, Go! by David Milgrim with 12 votes, 11 first place votes, and 47 total points. Go, Otto, Go! is a Simon Spotlight’s Ready to Read book, a reader in the fine tradition of such past winners as Don’t Throw It To Mo, Chicken Said Cluck!, and Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas. And you read that correctly - Go, Otto, Go! received one more first place vote than They All Saw A Cat.

Because this ballot is not our final ballot, anything could still happen. Perhaps no one will be swayed to move from Otto or Cat to the other, or to move their third place vote up to a second place or first place spot, and instead the five votes supporting Cookie Fiasco will be convinced by the argument of their fellows that We Are Growing is the stronger title and their support will bring it into the lead. Or perhaps such a compelling argument will be made by fans of The Princess in Black and the Hungry Bunny Hoard that it will shoot to the top of the ballot.

The committee’s discussion would need to bring up new insights and comparisons. All those titles remaining on the table would be open for discussion, and committee members might share new information and observations about how children interacted with these titles.

Please feel free to bring up your arguments for the excellence of any of our remaining titles in the comments, as well as reactions to these first round results. We’ll be posting the second ballot at midnight!

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