Thursday, March 8, 2012

Geisel Winners 2012: An Examination

Tales for Picky Eaters
Josh Schneider
Geisel Award

The Geisel Award (so named in honor of Dr. Seuss) is given to the "best" early reader book each year. In my opinion, an early reader is like Frog and Toad, Henry and Mudge, or some other similar title. Tales for Picky Eaters works better as an early chapter read aloud than an early reader.

It's funny and quirky; a kid is wondering why he should eat his broccoli, his lumpy oatmeal, and other similarly "disgusting" things. His dad is coming up with off-the-wall explanations for why (ranging from a troll living in the basement that would soon be out of work to oatmeal that will continue to grow and expand every day until it's consumed). Illustrations are delightful--the best part of the book. But, I think that by the time readers are ready to read this title on their own, they may find this book a touch juvenile. The Honor Books are much better examples of books that emerging readers will thoroughly enjoy....

I Broke My Trunk
Mo Willems
Geisel Honor

I've lauded the Elephant and Piggie books before, so I'll spare the effusive praise. In sum: Go. Read. This. Book. With. Your. Child. One of Willems' best in this series (although Should I Share My Ice Cream?, also published in 2011, is even better!!). How does that man manage to communicate so much in such simple language and illustration??

See Me Run
Paul Meisel
Geisel Honor

Remember those (boring) easy readers that run something like this: "See me run. I run. I see a ball. I run to the ball..." (yawn).

Meisel gives us a similar text in terms of reading level and complexity, but his illustrations make this book a lot funnier than those boring reading texts of old. Watch the dog run, watch other dogs run, watch them dig...up a dinosaur skeleton that comes to life and chases them out of the park!

Cover images from goodreads

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