The students voted Most Valuable Players by their teammates were: front row, Matthew Doering, Brody Christiansen, Marie Peterson, and Amelia Solum. Back row: Anna Frydenlund, Wyatt Murphy, Jacine Johanningmeier, and Emily Myrah. MARLENE DESCHLER/SPRING GROVE HERALD
The students voted Most Valuable Players by their teammates were: front row, Matthew Doering, Brody Christiansen, Marie Peterson, and Amelia Solum. Back row: Anna Frydenlund, Wyatt Murphy, Jacine Johanningmeier, and Emily Myrah. MARLENE DESCHLER/SPRING GROVE HERALD
Middle Age students at Spring Grove Public School spent their Friday afternoon in a battle. A battle of books, that is. It was their annual B.O.B. (Battle of Books) Tournament. At the beginning of the school year, school media generalist, Bev Nelson, reveals the list of the books for that year's battle. The students are encouraged to read as many of those books as they can in order to be prepared for the battle.

"Most all of the books on the B.O.B. list have won literary prizes," explained Nelson. "Having these quality books helps the students attain an appetite for higher quality literature. They might not realize that, but the competition has been something they really seem to enjoy and it has been a great incentive for them to read. The results are very pleasing."

There were eight teams this year with a sixth grade student being the captain of the team. The students create their teams with a goal being that each team has representatives from each grade in the Middle Ages (fourth, fifth, and sixth). The teams devise their own plans on how they are going to tackle all of the books on the list. Sometimes they divide the titles between the members and sometimes there are members that also want to try and read all of the books on the list. Each year 25 percent of the books on the list are taken out and replaced with different ones in order to keep the list fresh and up-to-date. There were 49 books on this year's list.

The rounds for Battle of the Books are about 17 minutes each with the questions formatted so that the answers come in the form of title and author. Any team member can buzz in to answer the question, but only the captain speaks for the team. Once a team has buzzed in, they have 20 seconds to confer on an answer. They may use notes that they have kept. Each team gets to play at least twice.

This year's champion team was the Crazy Cannibals. The runner-up team was the Silent Ninjas, and the Consolation team was B.O.B.'s Bookworms. The champion team members each received a $10 Barnes and Noble gift card and a token for popcorn courtesy of the Spring Grove Cinema. The runner-up team and the consolation team each received a $5 Cinema gift card courtesy of the Spring Grove Cinema. The Barnes and Noble certificate was purchased with part of the profits from the book fair with the remaining profits going to an author visit.

Teammates also voted on their Most Valuable Player. "The team votes for the person that they feel contributed the most to their team," explained Nelson. "This is a very nice honor to receive."

Most Valuable Players for this year's B.O.B. competition were Brody Christiansen of the Spartan Readers, Matthew Doering of the B.O.B.'s Bookworms, Anna Frydenlund of the Cuddly Killer Kittens, Jacine Johanningmeier of the Mighty Muffins, Wyatt Murphy of the Silent Ninjas, Emily Myrah of the Reading Geeks, Marie Peterson of the We Will Rip Your Book Spines Off, and Amelia Solum of the Crazy Cannibals. The MVPs each received an ice cream cone certificate courtesy of Doc's Blue Moose, a popcorn certificate courtesy of Spring Grove Cinema, and a medal.

At the end of the tournament, Nelson addressed all of the students, "I want to thank you all for doing such a good job reading this year. We want to recognize the hard work that you have done - everyone is getting ice cream sundaes in the cafeteria!" The students all cheered and with big smiles quickly headed to the cafeteria for their treat.