“Handing Out the Hardware” by Meghan Cox Gurdan, Wall Street Journal, February 2-3, 2019
Two novels each received a second-tier Newbery Honor award this year. Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s The Book of Boy with evocative woodcut-style illustrations by Ian Schoenherr, is a beautiful volume. The story traces the peregrinations of two curious companions— a young hunchback and a man with a burning ambition and a hellish past—through Europe in the year 1350. And “no offense ,” as Merci Suárez’s haughty sixth-grade nemesis would say, but if it had been up to me, this book would have swapped places for the top honor. Merci Suárez is a great girl with a great family, but we’ve read stories like hers before. The Book of Boy represents an original feat of imaginative storytelling.