MockNomination for Alabama Moon
Watt has crafted characters that both exist as convincing individuals, and serve as structures through which young readers can see things in a new way, questioning and analyzing what is usually considered “acceptable.” Kit and Hal are the perfect sidekicks through which to explore the boundaries of friendship. Their time in the woods together serves as a backdrop for Moon to demonstrate his survival skills to the reader. Minor characters (Hal’s father Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Wellington the lawyer, Sanders the cop, Mr. Abroscotto the storekeeper) serve as archetypes of adulthood as a child audience is often frustrated by it: loving but unreliable; fair-to-the-point-of-unfairness; powerful and dangerous; informative but ineffectual. This is one-sided to be sure, but Watt uses these battling perspectives to create a drama of human conditions that is fascinating and accessible to a young audience by dressing it as a suspenseful, fascinating, funny, and ultimately satisfying adventure.