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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Great Wednesday Compare 2: Robert Munsch VERSUS Farley Mowat

The winner of last week's Great Wednesday Compare (John Steinbeck Vs. William Faulkner), with a final score of 9-8, was John Steinbeck.

As much as I wanted a tie in past debates, I really didn't want the 1st round of Great Wednesday Compares to end on my vote. But here we are, and I assure you my tie-breaking vote for Steinbeck was honest. I've read only one Faulkner book (As I Lay Dying) and don't care to read another. I found it confusing, yet dull. A few people voting in Faulkner's favour last week suggested that his books caused them to think and work harder, but they found the effort worth it. Perhaps had I studied Faulkner in a group setting or in a class, I'd appreciate the complexities. My first exposure to Steinbeck was in a classroom (The Pearl) and I reject the notion that there was anything less to think about or consider. Steinbeck's messages are at least packaged in a more straightforward story. If I wanted to delve deeper, I could. With Faulkner I didn't feel I had any choice.

Before I get into the first contenders for the 2nd Round, let's have a look back...

In the premiere edition, Stephen King took on J. K. Rowling beating her (though not all the way to the bank) 15-5 . Quickly though we found that the true king of horror was Edgar Allan Poe, who beat him 17-5. Poe, however, was no match for Jane Austen, who slaughtered him 48-8. Then in the first all-female edition, Austen was the first author to win two weeks in a row, taking down Lucy Maud Montgomery 38-13. But her winning streak wouldn't end there, she took on Kurt Vonnegut the next week and gutted him 22-10. Which literary genius finally proved superior to Austen? Dr. Suess 23-21. His rhymes struck a chord with people and Seuss was able to win a 2nd match, this time against Narnia creator C. S. Lewis 15-14. But, rhymes are one thing and poetry is quite another. Who took out Seuss, I think I know...Robert Frost 21-4. Frost is cool, but no match for the Canadian winter. Margaret Atwood took over 18-6. And though she professed her admiration for Toni Morrison, there's no room for niceties here. Toni Morrison wasn't much beloved at all, losing 15-2. Atwood could not, however, tie Austen's 3 week winning streak. According to Garp fans, John Irving is better 9-8. Irving continued on, without any care for atonement, beating Ian McEwan 10-4. But the time for phoniness had passed and J. D. Salinger put down Irving 9-5. Salinger then cast out William Goulding 9-3. Again with no one seeming able to tie Austen's record of three, Salinger lost to Ray Bradbury 12-2. Then, in a sci-fi showdown, Bradbury took out Isaac Asimov 6-2 (a pretty sad number of votes!) Again reliving our childhoods, Bradbury lost out to E. B. White 10-2. Next E. B. White proved that caterpillars are no match for spiders, getting rid of Eric Carle 21-4. Then, perhaps proving we were all a little tired of juvenile fiction, Agatha Christie took the lead, killing off White 10-6. Who's the better sleuth master? No mystery here: Arthur Conan Doyle 8-6. The following week not even Halloween could save Bram Stoker. Sherlock thrust the stake through his heart 13-4. Then Harper Lee took out Doyle 17-5. In my first cold-war match-up Lee lost to Tolstoy, 8-7. Tolstoy then returned to his own country and offered punishment to Fyodor Dostoevsky 9-7. Tolstoy is good, but George Orwell is better 8-6. And Leonard Cohen? Orwell took him down to that place near the river 9-8. Next it was the best of times for Charles Dickens who beat Orwell 14-4. Dickens then went on to beat Mark Twain 10-9 and Virginia Woolf 9-8, finally tying Austen's record. But the record was not to be beat until Steinbeck came along. Immediately he set his wrath upon Dickens 12-8, Ernest Hemingway 16-7, Carol Shields 13-6, Karl Marx 15-2, and finally William Faulkner 9-8, bringing his total wins to five, which was the magic number to end the first round and declare John Steinbeck the first champion.

For the second round, I've decided to start off with a couple Canadians (actually I believe Munsch has dual citizenship with the U.S.). I've not yet had an all-Canadian match-up and since I'm hosting the Canadian Book Challenge, I figured it was as good a time as any to promote that. Not to worry though, upcoming week's will see the compares going global once more.

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 12, 2008), and please spread the word!

Who's better?




19 comments:

Chris said...

I loved that wrap up!

I'm going to go with Munsch.

Gentle Reader said...

That was a great wrap-up! I'm not qualified to vote in this round, as I've never read Robert Munsch. But I do like Farley Mowat's Never Cry Wolf. Thanks for devising, and continuing to host, the compare, I look forward to it!

raych said...

I worked in a daycare a few years back, and whole weeks would go by where I would read my kids nothing but Munsch. I grew up on The Paperbag Princess and Mud Puddle. My vote is clear.

kookiejar said...

I have never read either of these authors..a first for me during the Compare.

In this situation, I would normally vote for whoever had the most hilarious name...but that is a tie this time. Sexiness? Hmmm, too difficult. So I'm going with the man with the best beard.

Farley Mowat...your beard is good.

Wendy said...

Love, love, love Farley Mowat! He's got my vote this week.

Nicola said...

I've been sitting out recently as I'm not into Steinbeck or anyone he was up against. So I'm thrilled to see the two authors this time. This is a tough one for me. I've read most of the works of both. Robert Munsch is a fantastic storyteller. If you get a chance to see him live, please do. Farley Mowat, of course, is wonderful. Owls in the Family is a Canadian classic.

Like I said this is tough. But my vote is going to go with ... Farley Mowat as he has shown more diversity. He writes for children, for adults, fiction and NF all equally well.

Corey Redekop said...

I'm a bad Canadian, I've never read either.

pussreboots said...

I'm going with Munsch because I really like his book Purple Green and Yellow.

raidergirl3 said...

You really mined that set of authors for the wrap up.

I asked my 8 year old daughter to pick: she said tie, as she loves Owl in the Family, but, really, Munsch? We have about 15 of his books here.
10 year old son: he said Munsch, I asked if he had ever read Owls in the Family? He said no, didn't care, still a Munsch vote.

While I want to promote Mowatt, and am reading The Dog Who Wouldn't Be right now, I'll have to say Munsch. The Paperbag Princess stars Princess Elizabeth and Prince Ronald, (that bum). That's our names, hubby and me. Plus, I defy anyone to read I Love You Forever to their child and not tear up. Defy!

BookGal said...

How could an elementary teacher not vote for Munsch!

Munsch!

Bybee said...

John, I would recommend you for a job at ESPN anytime!

My favorite (I guess I should say favoUrite) Munsch book is 50 Below Zero but I'm going to go with Farley Mowat on the strength of Never Cry Wolf.

Bookfool said...

I've got a couple of Farley Mowat's books, but I haven't read them, yet. And, I love, love, love Munsch, so he gets my vote. We bought a copy of The Paperbag Princess while in Toronto and the next time we returned we sought out as many of his books as we could find. Love You Forever turns me into a sobbing ninny.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Congrats to John Steinbeck! I feel like rereading Cannery Row or something now.

I cannot resist an author who writes about farting and about having to pee when you already have your snowsuit on. Robert Munsch it is!

Melanie said...

I vote for Farley Mowat, although I'm lukewarm in my liking for him. Robert Munsch, however, drives me mad. Enough with the books already! I've read so, so many of them in storytimes that I just can not vote for him.

info said...

John: Is it cheating if I vote? My vote has to swing to Robert Munsch (I tipped my hat to him in the final chapter of Dining with Death).
Kathleen Molloy

LisaC said...

Munsch drives me crazy. I love his older titles (Paper Bag Princess, I Love You Forever) but many of the newer ones make me wonder if he assumes all kids only love The Simpsons and Family Guy. The kids are often bratty and obnoxious. So, my vote is for Farley Mowat. I will read some Munsch in my classroom and to my own children, but I won't be buying any giant collections anytime soon. I hear he is great in person, but I would rather spend an afternoon with Mowat I think.

Ms. Place said...

Love Farley Mowat. Hated not to see Jane Austen score higher. Great compare!

Remi said...

I reread Lost in the Barrens for your Canuck book challenge and fell in love again. Mowat all the way. Even in his eighties, he is still vital.

John Mutford said...

Tie breaking vote: Mowat.

Voting is now closed.