What does "Book of the Week" really mean and how do we pick them?

So what constitutes a "Book of the Week" winner? It's pretty simple really and so is the way we choose them. Our guidelines are below:

  • Each week, on Friday at 9.30 our Book of the Week winner is announced. This needn't necessarily be a book that was released that week, but it will almost undoubtedly be a book we've read in the nominated week that has been a massive hit with both of us, and has been read and re-read many many times. By normal booky-folk speak, a "Keeper".
  • Sometimes on rare occasions, Charlotte and I can't agree on just one book - so we end up with TWO Book of the Week winners in those weeks with the second review arriving at 10 AM on Friday. Due to the sheer number of books we read and review, it's often the case that we need to "double up" like this, but it doesn't detract from the fact that both books are utterly special and deserve recognition in this way. We're trialling putting Chapter Books into the mix too so even more fun to be had!
  • All Book of the Week winners are now put into our "Book of the Year" shortlist. If you think picking a Book of the Week is tough, wait till you get to the end of December and have to pick a single Book of the Year. Again, because this blog is a joint effort, both Charlotte and I pick a winner each and make a bit of a fuss about them (sure it doesn't really mean much, we're just a book blog after all but our Book of the Year winners are ultimately books that we cannot get enough of and would probably actually marry if such things were legal!) We did consider actually producing something physical to give to our winners but I'm sure they won't want a tacky piece of tat bunging up their lovely houses so we produce a web badge if they want to share it (probably not!) We also collate book of the week winners to determine the "Publisher of the Year" - The publisher whose books have hit Book of the Week more than any others. Just a bit of fun really but we're often surprised by who comes out on top. 
  • A few folk have observed that we look like we "play favourites" with certain authors or book series - or that some books that we rave about aren't actually "Book of the Week" winners yet we won't shut up about them. It's not really so in either case, we aim to be as impartial as possible when selecting winners and if the same folk hit "Book of the Week" again and again, it's because they're just so durned good! 
  • Likewise, if a regular series always seems to end up as a "Book of the Week" it'll be because the Author / Illustrator of that series isn't just milking the same idea over and over again, they're really excelling at what they do. As to certain books not hitting the "Book of the Week" slot (to this day I still can't understand why "Troll and the Oliver" didn't!), sometimes it's just such a packed review schedule and there are so many books that excel that we would end up with 10 books of the week rather than our upper limit of 2. 
  • A few folk have asked why we don't rate books. We did once, and it didn't turn out very well because human perception of the difference between a 3 and a 5 (where 3 is "good" and 5 is "excellent") is too difficult to apply to children's books. Looking back at when we did this, we found that nearly all of our book reviews ended on a 4, Book of the Week books were naturally a 5 and we very rarely bothered to scratch the lower end of the scale because we very rarely meet a stinker of a book (and the one time we did rate a book at a 1, we got into quite an intense debate with an author about what the Publisher actually did to their original work so it's unfair to rate someone's book that low when it might have actually been some severe scissoring that was responsible for the book not turning out as planned!)
  • Overall, it's pretty important to remember that we're just a dad and daughter book blog. We're not the Oscars, we're not the Caldecott Medal, but if authors and illustrators are proud that their work is so hugely and positively appreciated by us, we're actually quite honoured and it DOES mean a lot to us when that is fed back to both of us (put it this way, you lovely folk, when Charlotte knows that you have fed back to us that you liked what we wrote about your book, it really does give her a huge buzz and me too!)

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