For more information about the Geisel Award, visit the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award homepage.
Winner: There is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems
Gerald is minding his own business when suddenly a bird lands on his head. Then another bird! Then a nest! Then three eggs! Piggie stands by Gerald and tells him what is happening since he can’t see the top of his head. This humorous story works so well as a beginning reader.
I have to admit that even though I’ve read this book countless times, I still laugh every time at the end of the story. The way that the two best friends work together to solve their problem and discover the simple sweet solution perfectly sets up the punchline at the end. All of the characterizations are wonderful. Gerald’s fear and anxiousness regarding the whole situation are apparent in his eyes and body language. Piggie’s optimism and endless smile only makes the ending that much funnier.
This is one of the very first Elephant and Piggie books and I hope that the Geisel Award only helped call attention to these wonderful books and ensure that quality beginning readers are written and promoted for a long, long time.
Honor: First the Egg by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
A deceptively simple picture book explains basic first/then concepts to preschoolers. Filled with Seeger’s beautiful page cut-outs, this book will delight beginning readers. Most likely shelved in picture book because of the trade-size, parents with beginning readers should seek this title out.
Honor: Hello, Bumblebee Bat by Darrin Lunde
This non-fiction title teaches readers about the bumblebee bat in a question/answer format. The familiar form of question/answer will prove to be beneficial to beginning readers. While there are a lot of words per page, this is a title that doesn’t need to be read straight through and can be worked on page-by-page.
Honor: Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler
This fabulous picture book using jazz rhymes and sounds to create a book sure to please anyone learning to read. Lots of repetitive words (up/down/baby, etc.) and great rhymes like snap clap, etc. An excellent title to give to beginning reader and it works in storytime too!
Honor: Vulture View by April Pulley Sayre
Another non-fiction title with amazing repetitive language. Sayre certainly has a way with words as she explains to readers how vultures find their food. The book is illustrated by Steve Jenkins and would be a fine addition to any library’s non-fiction section.