Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Great Wednesday Compare 2: Farley Mowat VERSUS Jack London

The winner of last week's Great Wednesday Compare (Robert Munsch Vs. Farley Mowat), with a final score of 9-8, was Farley Mowat.

Once again, you kind folks have left a tie in my hands. What is this, Father's Day? (A little middle-aged humour there.) Mowat people can thank me. Munsch people, throw stones if you wish. To defend my choice, I'll address some of the comments from last week:

Kookiejar: I've seen a few photos around with Munsch sporting a beard as well. Fortunately, for the Mowat fans, I couldn't find any of those online.

Nicola: I haven't heard Munsch live. I have, however, heard him on CD. And I'm not a fan. He puts bizarre intonations into his stories, sounding slightly deranged, and worse, for any kid trying to follow along in the book, he throws in words that aren't there. Granted, he does sound enthusiatic and no doubt that would be infectious... in person. As for your arguments for Mowat, I agree that he's shown much more diversity.

Raidergirl: I'll agree that The Paperbag Princess is great. I will, however, defy your claim that Love You Forever will make any parent tear up. I've always found the mom...well, psychotic! Granted 15 000 000 other people agree with you (including Joey from Friends). I also find the book overly sentimental, and that kids don't have anywhere near the same reaction to it as their parents. Nor am I fussy on the illustrations, but Munsch shouldn't be held responsible for Sheila McGraw's art. (Again, people seem to disagree with me on that point, too.)

Bookgal: I'm taking a year off from teaching this year, and while I admit that kids I've taught love Munsch, I still think there are much better picture books out there.

Melanie: I think my problem is that I've read too many Munsch books as well. After a while they start to seem formulaic. Of course, I have my favourites Get Out of Bed! and Alligator Baby, plus he had a lot of respect from me for collaborating with Nunavut children's author Michael Kusugak in A Promise is a Promise. Though he lost that credit by calling it Nunavit. Shame, shame. Then again, a lot of locals in the North call Farley Mowat "Hardly Knowit" so I guess I shouldn't get all hung up on facts. Still, the Canadiana that one could gather from either author's books is quite impressive.

Remi: I've read Mowat again as an adult and like Munsch, find him hit-or-miss. Lost In The Barrens (also called Two Against The North) I heard for the first time in grade four, I think. I absolutely loved it. More than anything else I've read since by him (including Never Cry Wolf), or by Munsch and it probably helped tipped the scale.

So who's fair competition for Farley Mowat this week? I'm hoping Jack London.

Remember, vote simply by adding your comment below, base it on whatever merit you choose, voting does not end until Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. (Feb 19, 2008), and please spread the word!

Who's better?





19 comments:

Chris said...

I'll go with Mowat. After all he did say that if facts get in the way of a good story, F**K the facts. I'll forget the fact that I haven't read either (yet).

Aaron said...

I've read Mowat, unfortunately I haven't read London. But I would have to choose London because Mowat's The Dog Who Wouldn't Be got on my nerves. I don't know what is was but it took a while before I ever had the urge to read Mowat again. So, give it to London!

Rob Hardy said...

Jack London. He wasn't just a writer of dog and wolf stories. "Martin Eden" is one of the great novels about being a writer. London was an interesting character. A committed socialist, for example. And he wrote a sweet fan letter to the author of "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm."

Wendy said...

Oh, this one is extremely tough for me since I love them both. But, I guess I have to shift my vote and go with Jack London. Timeless writing.

kookiejar said...

Oh, see the beard might have swayed me last week. :/

In any case, I don't really know Mowat...but I can't stand London, so I'm going to vote for the evil I don't know over the one I do (thus canceling out Rob's vote once again).

Mowat.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I really had to toss a coin on this one. And came up with Jack London.

Remi said...

Tough call. Mowat because he still rages on even in his 80's.

Nicola said...

I'm going to go with Farley Mowat again.

raidergirl3 said...

Mowatt. Lost in the Barrens was a decent school read, and I still love Owls in the Family.

I agree about I Love You Forever and the mom. And part of what is funny about reading it is the kids think the book is hi-larious, especially when the mom picks up the grown up boy, and the parents are wiping tears away.

pussreboots said...

I'll go with Farley Mowat for the beard.

Sam Houston said...

Jack London, please...and thanks.

Bookfool said...

If you'd asked me last week, I would have shrugged. But, I just read a couple writings by London in A Hawaiian Reader, Vol. 1 (thus distinguished because there are, in fact, 2 volumes -- sometimes you can't be certain, but I checked) and they were wunderbar. I'm all full of Jack love, now.

BookGal said...

I'm going with London ... just not a Mowat fan.

Bybee said...

This is tough...I've read one book by each of them. I liked both books immensely. I'm going with London because he wrote one of my favorite short stories, "To Build A Fire".

Rob Hardy said...

Oh, and here's a link to a post about the first poem I ever wrote, which was based on Jack London's "To Build a Fire." Go, Jack!

Megan said...

Jack London!

I still have good memories of reading White Fang on a snowy day when I was younger, though I barely remember the story. I should probably read it again...

Ms. Place said...

Jack London. Loved Farley way back when I was in college, but London's a classic. I keep going back to London. It's been years since I read Farley.

GeraniumCat said...

I'm going for Jack London because my (brown) dog thinks she's White Fang.

John Mutford said...

Voting is now closed.