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Archive for January 15th, 2019

By J.D. Lafrance

Based on George V. Higgins’ 1974 crime novel Cogan’s Trade, Killing Them Softly (2012) is a protest film masquerading as a crime movie. It’s an angry howl of discontent presented under the auspices of a Quentin Tarantino-esque tale of tough guys with guns only with much more depth and even more talking (if that’s possible). Despite receiving a warm reception at the Cannes Film Festival, Andrew Dominik’s film failed to make back its $15 million budget in North America and had to rely on international grosses to turn a profit. Clearly mainstream movie-going audiences were not interested in seeing an overtly talky crime film starring Brad Pitt. This is a shame as Killing Them Softly, while a bit heavy-handed in some spots, is quite brilliant.

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by Sam Juliano

My school time-consuming Mock Caldecott voting prevented me from posting the Monday Morning Diary early but here it is later in the evening.   194 ballots were cast by Fairview’s first and second graders at the Number 3 School Annex on Monday and the result was the biggest landslide by the gold medal winner in the six years the voting has been staged. Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s wildly popular “Blue” scored a whopping 191 points via regular weighted tabulation of each student getting three choices in order to outdistance the second place finisher “The Wall in the Middle of the Book” by better than a two-to-one margin (191 to 94) but in emulating a Caldecott committee of four years ago we decided to award six (6) books the Caldecott Honor silver medal. The results are as follows:

Blue (Laura Vaccaro Seeger) 191 (Medal)
The Wall in the Middle of the Book (Jon Agee) 94 (Honor)
Big Bunny (Rowboat Watkins) 75 (Honor)
Ocean Meets Sky (Eric and Terry Fan) 59 (Honor)
We Are Grateful (Traci Sorell/Frane Lessac) 58 (Honor)
Dreamers (Yuyi Morales) 55 (Honor)
Imagine (Raul Colon) 49 (Honor)

Though we began this five month venture with over 200 picture books, the final batch numbered 70. Of those we have the seven (7) final winners above and nine (9) other books that finished with 30 points or above:

Dude! (Aaron Reynolds, Dan Santat) 44
Wild Orca (Brenda Peterson/Wendell Minor) 41
The Unwanted (Don Brown) 37
A Parade of Elephants (Kevin Henkes) 36
Nanny Paws (Wendy Wahman) 35
Bub (Elizabeth Stanton) 34
In the Past (David Elliott/Matthew Truman) 34
A Big Mooncake For Little Star (Grace Lin) 34
Thank you, Omu! (Oge Mora) 30

Hence we have sixteen (16) books that really impressed the 194 students and teachers of the Number Three School Annex to the tune of Top 16 out of around 200!!! Still there were many other books that received point and kudos to all the wonderful books and their creators. It has been quite a ride since September! Thanks to all the teachers and classroom aides for their assistance in today’s event! (A fair number of books I consider absolute masterpieces like “The House That Once Was” by Julie Fogliano and Lane Smith; “Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse” (Marci Campbell, Corina Luyken) “Nothing Stopped Sophie” by Cheryl Bardoe and Barbara McClintock and Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall probably were more complex and intricate for the mainly first grade voters)

Fairview’s student body is now 82% Hispanic, and 6% Arabic. The other 12% is a mix, African-American, Italian, Croatian, etc.

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