Week of January 29, 2012—And the Winner Is
Tuesday—2012 Geisel Award Winner and Honor Books
You may not be familiar with The Geisel Award. The Geisel Award is given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year. The winners may be picture books, leveled readers, beginning readers, early chapter books, and so on.
2012 Geisel Medal Award Winner
Tales for Very Picky Eaters
Written and illustrated by Josh Schneider
Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Anyone one has known (or been) a picky eater will enjoy this five chapter beginning chapter book. Each of the five chapters in Tales for Very Picky Eaters tells a different picky eating saga in the life of the main character, James. The horrid food James encounters include: disgusting broccoli, smelly lasagna, repulsive milk, lumpy oatmeal, and slimy eggs. James’ dad, always quick with a response, offers up outlandish optional dining suggestions for James. Dad also finds clever ways to encourage James to be more adventurous in his food choices. But be ready for the tables to be turned!
The writing is fun, albeit wordy, and the illustrations will delight young readers. Challenging vocabulary is defined in context (and through art) making the text palatable to emergent readers.
2012 Geisel Honor Books
I Broke My Trunk
Written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group
This book is from Willems’ series, Elephant and Piggie. Gerald the Elephant tells a long story about how his trunk was broken as his concerned and well-meaing friend, Piggie, listens. I find each installment of this series delightful. The book is child-like in every sense—bold type; easy-to-read text; and simple, colorful illustrations. The vocabulary is quite limited, yet very funny.
I Want My Hat Back
Written and illustrated by Jon Klassen
A simple story with repeating lines and predictable phrases make this picture book a winner with young readers. Bear has lost his red, pointy hat and wanders through the forest asking others if they’ve seen it. Along the way, the reader sees Bear talking to one animal who is wearing a red, point hat. But it isn’t until the end of the book when Bear realizes, “I have seen my hat.” Kids will love knowing the solution to the problem before Bear does.
I highly recommend every picture book writer study this book and see how a strong story can be told with a few, well-chosen words.
See Me Run
Written and illustrated by Paul Meisel
Dogs run, slide, jump, splash, and have tons of fun in this romp in this colorful, action-packed picture book. Just when you think you’ve seen all the dogs, there are more! The pictures will hook beginning readers first, then the story will draw them in. The end of the book will be a complete surprise, but there are hints along the way—even on the title page. The book has limited vocabulary, large print, and short sentences. All that coupled with a fun story will make this book a winner with kids.