In a time of unraveling, the need for restoration is strong in many fields of life and endeavor. Take DDG’s Stocking Stuffer of the Year Award. This somber and august undertaking, long renowned for its unimpeachable integrity, has been marred in recent years by the actions of its judges. Each year since 2015, a shocking development has transpired. Our judge awarded the grand prize to itself! This corruption has galled me to the quick, and with the world so sorely in need of stability, it is the very main of my ambition to ensure that this year’s contest does not take upon itself yet another ill-fitting mantle of injurious self-acclaim.
Fortunately, with the Long Tongued Frog as our choice of Judge, we are on solid ground. It has assured me that under no conceivable circumstance would it select itself champion.
Furthermore, as it pointed out, the Long Tongue Frog will choose the winner for each category by flicking its tongue and striking its selection. Also, as it pointed out, the frog’s tongue shoots straight out and it would be physically impossible for its tongue to bend in such a way as to select itself.
Kenny: Oh, Long Tongued Frog, thank you for agreeing to take up the judgeship of this year’s contest.
Long Tongued Frog: Oh, long worded human, still thy mouthing and let us get straight to the judging.
Kenny: Right ho then, magisterial one. Our first category is The Most Pleasing Jigsaw Puzzle and our contestants are the sublime and understated Charley Harper Tree of Life, The startling Tiger from Djeco, and that stirring floral creation, Let the Sun Shine In.
Long Tongue Frog (paces about and then suddenly strikes, flicking its tongue to hit the Tree of Life): I declare this worthy pedestal of frogs the champion.
Kenny: Umm. Well chosen. Our next category is the Most Shockingly Great Value and our contestants are the Mini Zingy Springy, the Llama Pen, the remarkable Cyclone Top, the amazing Ecological Discovery Real Gem Stones, and the notorious Animal Retractable Pens.
Long Tongued Frog: (paces about and then suddenly strikes, flicking its tongue to hit the Mini Zingy Springy): These are all worthy objects but lo, a metal version of a frog is surely the most exalted choice.
Kenny: Hmm. Well that is a fine stocking stuffer. And now on to the Best Science Toy or Art Kit. Our entries here are the keen and useful Salt Powered Truck, the mind-bending Archimedes Screw Kit, the astounding Bright Strip Mash Up Art Pack Batik FX, and the arresting Aftershock! Quake Lab.
Long Tongued Frog: (paces about and then suddenly strikes, flicking its tongue to hit the Aftershock! Quake Lab): These contestants are all praiseworthy but Aftershock! most closely recreates the feeling engendered by being struck with my tongue.
Kenny: I see. And now we come to it: the grand prize for The Stocking Stuffer of the Year Award. Our finalists are that paragon of entertaining education the Magnatab A-Z, the Inuit-inspired Soapstone Carving Kit, the unimpeachable darling Tiddly Tot Wooden push-along puppy, and the pillar of pillars, the astounding Zig & Go construction toy. This will be a hard choice, to be sure.
Long Tongued Frog (stands stock still and does not move for over a minute)
Kenny: Have you come to a decision?
Long Tongued Frog: I have.
Kenny: I did not see you select an item. Your tongue has not moved.
Long Tongued Frog: That is because it is already touching the winner of this year’s contest. I have chosen myself as most worthy of the award.
Kenny: No! Nooooo. Nooooooo! You vowed to me not to choose yourself. This can’t be happening! Ahhhhhh!
Long Tongued Frog: And now I choose to mark the least worthy among us.
I’m so glad to see a new post! I’ve missed my Shelftalker crew; as a school librarian I’m not in the indie bookstore industry per-say but I feel connected to you all through your posts about books and outreach. I also love the stocking stuffer post every year- I’ve found some great ideas for gifts over the years and I hope to see you all here for many more!
Middle School Librarian in Austin, Texas
Thanks Sarah! Much appreciated.
Kenny, you are beyond a rock star — maybe a neutron star? — for being able to carve a fantastic post out of the bonkersness of this retail holiday season. This short-tongued frog croaks Huzzah!