Friday, March 07, 2014

Stripes and Stars: Queensland 2014

The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss (1957, Random House, Houghton Mifflin)

"How many stripes on the Cat in Hat's hat?"

The question drew chuckles, in-the-air finger counting and some frowns from the 30+ teams of star readers assembled at the Queensland heat of the 2014 Kids Lit Quiz, held at the Ipswich Girls Grammar School on Tuesday, February 19.

It was one of 100 questions that challenged the breadth and depth of knowledge that was needed to compete in the "sport of reading".

The authors team:  (L to R) Pamela Rushby, James Moloney, Richard Newsome and Josie Montano

The teams were excited to see the authors, James Moloney, Pamela Rushby, Josie Montano and Richard Newsome were competing against them.  To find out more about these authors, click on their names to link to their websites and start by looking for these titles:

Pamela Rushby: The Horses Didn’t Come Home (2013), Ratcatchers Daughter (2014)
James Moloney: Lucien (2013)
Richard Newsome: Billionaire’s Curse series
Josie Montano: My Family Sized Pizza (note this is an US publication aimed at  readers aged 15+).

At the Queensland heat, the most popular round for double points was "Literary Knowledge" which proved to be much more difficult than first imagined.  In between quiz rounds, students and audience vied for individual prizes - as more literature questions, taken from previous world finals, were asked and answered.  You can find practice questions on the Kids' Lit Quiz site, here.

Teams were jostling for position until the final round with no clear winner obvious.

At the end, the authors were ahead but as they couldn't compete at the finals, it was the next placed teams that were of interest. A single point separated the top 4 teams which goes to show it could have been anyone's win on another day. The teams tying for first went to a sudden death playoff to see who would represent Queensland.

The Quizmaster slowly started to read the question and hadn't given many clues before a hand shot up.

"Are you sure?" he asked them, "You know the other team will have all the other clues if you get it wrong".

"I'm sure" was the answer, "It's The Never-ending Story".

With that answer, the Quizmaster slowly walked back to the centre of the room with all eyes on him and announced Bulimba State School the winners and Wilston State School in second place.

Third place went to the team from Sacred Heart Primary School. It was a dramatic end to an exciting competition and the team from Bulimba State School now looks forward to representing Queensland at the Australian national final in Sydney on 22 March.  

Diane Lyons
Teacher-Librarian, Bulimba State School

Thank you Diane for providing this terrific account of the Queensland regional heat.  It sounds like it was a great day. With so many kids participating in the Quiz (35 teams of 4!), I imagine it would have been a sea of hands waving, "pick me!" during the spot prizes.

How good is that question on the Cat's striped hat?  It is such a well-known image I'm sure that everyone in the room was visualising the same picture.  But until I saw the image and counted the stripes, well, I just couldn't have said...

For the many Dr Seuss fans out there, here's a link to an article by Lynn Neary, written on the 50th anniversary of the Cat in the Hat in 2007, providing some interesting information on this all-time favourite book and about Dr Seuss (Theodore Geisel).  And, on 2 March 2014, the 110th birthday of Dr Seuss, Alison Nastari wrote 20 Things you didn't know about Dr Seuss in Flavourwire, an online site which focuses on popular culture.

Another Dr Seuss classic is Green Eggs and Ham (1960, Random House).  Earlier this year, the author Neil Gaiman posted a YouTube clip of himself reading Green Eggs and Ham to celebrate the 2014 Worldbuilders charity reaching a target of $500,000.  Here's the link to that clip:

World Read Aloud Day is held annually on the first Wednesday of March - just a couple of days ago. As you can see from this clip, Dr Seuss books are fantastic to read aloud. Here are some more great books to read aloud, 50 Books Every Parent Should Read to their Child by Emily Temple. How many have you read?  How many have you had read to you?

There are some more book suggestions  - some for older readers - here: What Book Should we Read for Global World Read Aloud 2014?   Even if you've missed the Day, you can still read the books!

We're all now looking forward to the Sydney heat of the Kids' Lit Quiz on 21 March and the national final on 22 March, both to be held at Mt Annan Christian School in Sydney. Interested schools in the Sydney area should contact Nicole Deans at to register for the Sydney heat.  Anyone who is interested in seeing the Kids' Lit Quiz in action is welcome to attend the final Australian heat and the national final.

Kids' Lit Quiz Australia thanks everyone who helped make the Queensland regional heat such a success.  Particular thanks to:
  • The authors for being there;
  • Ipswich District Teacher-Librarian Network for donating books and coordinating the event;
  • Ipswich Girls Grammar School – in particular, Eirys Jones – for providing and setting up the venue;
  • The Book Warehouse for donating books;
  • A Lot of Books for selling books at the event;
  • Wayne Mills (Quizmaster), and Jenny Stubbs (Queensland Coordinator) for providing a day of literary fun.
Congratulations to all the participants at the Queensland heat. We hope you enjoyed the "sport of reading" and that you'll all come back next year.  You are all reading stars!

The 2014 Queensland team from Bulimba State School

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