Geisel 2012 Award & Honors

For more information about the Geisel Award, visit the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award homepage.

Winner: Tales for Very Picky Eaters by Josh Schneider

In this beginning reader, there are five stories all about how James’s father tries to convince him to try five new foods. He comes up with creative solutions that eventually convince James to try the food in front of him. In the last story, James decides to try a food just in case he might like it.

What a familiar story for so many parents out there! I remember one time my parents promised me a Skip-It to try fishsticks — the one food I put my food down no matter how many times my parents served it. They might have learned something from James’s father!

Lots of text and new vocabulary words are presented in this text perfect for more advanced beginning readers.


Honor: I Broke My Trunk! by Mo Willems

Gerald broke his trunk and it is a very long story. Piggie waits patiently to hear all of Gerald’s crazy, long story and winds up with a story of his own to tell. A humorous and imaginative addition to the Elephant and Piggie series.

Honor: I Want My Hat Back! by Jon Klassen

A bear is looking for his hat. He asks several animals before realizing that he has seen his hat! This twisty ending will have preschoolers and beginning readers laughing at bear’s sense of justice.

Honor: See Me Run by Paul Meisel

Dogs go throughout their day, running and digging, etc. When the dogs dig up a set of dinosaur bones, they have a surprise of their own. This selection from the I Like to Read! brand is a winner as a picture book and a beginning reader.

Geisel 2013 Award & Honors

For more information about the Geisel Award, visit the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award homepage.

Winner: Up! Tall! And High! by Ethan Long

Nine birds explore what the words up, tall, and high mean in this basic concepts book for beginning readers. The book is broken into three sections/stories in which birds compete with one another.

This is an amazing young reader. With only 34 words, very young readers will be able to read this easily without a grown-up helping them. The books also includes lift-the-flaps which help illustrate the differences between tall/high/up/down. The text is nearly always in speeches bubbles with the exception of the title pages of each story and sound effects (sigh, poof, flap).

I really like that each section tells a complete story. Struggling readers can make it through one story and feel accomplished without being daunted by finishing the whole book in one sitting.


Honor: Let’s Go for a Drive! by Mo Willems

Piggie and Gerald have grand plans to go for a drive. They begin collecting all the things they will need for the drive, but they might be missing one crucial piece for a drive… Piggie and Gerald’s emotions will keep the readers involved until the end.

Honor: Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin & James Dean

Pete the Cat is back in this third installment. This time Pete’s singing about his four buttons. But when they start to pop off, will Pete worry? Goodness, no! A great storytime read to teach counting and a great beginning reader.

Honor: Rabbit and Robot: The Sleepover by Cece Bell

A pair of friends have different expectations for their sleepover. Will they find a way to have fun together? An older beginning reader that’s perfect for more proficient readers.

Geisel 2014 Award & Honors

For more information about the Geisel Award, visit the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award homepage.

Winner: The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli

It’s a classic childhood dilemma — when you love watermelon, you’ll eventually swallow a watermelon seed. The Watermelon Seed tells that exact story in simple words and sentences, creating a delightfully funny beginning reader.

The text is large and easily read; the book is illustrated using only four colors: green, pink, white, and black. The illustrations help readers with potentially confusing sentences like “growing in my guts” by showing an X-ray. Crocodile is wonderfully dynamic in his expression, cluing readers in to his panic after he realizes that he has swallowed a seed.

This is another book that was actually shelved and processed as a picture book before it won the Geisel Award. At my previous library, I put it in Stories/Pizzoli. At my current library, it was read and cataloged by the previous Early Literacy Librarian as Picture/Stories/Food/Pizzoli.

The hilarious conclusion — seriously, what kindergarten/preschool student doesn’t love a good burp joke? — will have kids rolling in the aisle.

The Watermelon Seed is currently on our state’s K-3rd grade reader’s choice list of nominations and it’s one of my favorites. Fingers crossed!


Honor: Ball by Mary Sullivan

A single word — ball — is all that a beginning reader needs to read this imaginative book about a ball-obsessed dog. A great book to work on punctuation and emotions. (Also reminds me of my sweet dog-nephew who is also ball-obsessed! I am playing ball with him as I write this!)

Honor: A Big Guy Took My Ball! by Mo Willems

A big guy has stole Piggie’s ball. When Gerald tries to get it back, he is surprised to see a bigger big guy than him — a whale — has the ball. Can they figure out how to play together? Another wonderful addition to the Elephant and Piggie series.

Honor: Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes

When Penny finds a marble in Mrs. Goodwin’s yard, she picks it up and takes it home. Later that evening, she begins to wonder if Mrs. Goodwin is missing the marble. Another familiar childhood story for Penny and her fans.

Geisel 2015 Award & Honors

For more information about the Geisel Award, visit the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award homepage.

Winner: You Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant

Two different groups of furry creatures cannot decide which one of them is big and which one of them is small. A engaging and energetic picture book, written by a husband and wife team. I purchased this for my library and after reading it cataloged it as “Picture/Basics/Opposites/Kang”. You can imagine my surprise when I heard it announced as the Geisel Award winner that cold February morning!

After the announcements, I took the time to read through You Are (Not) Small carefully, looking at it through the eyes of a beginning reader.

The font size is absolute perfection if you ask me. The illustrations fill the majority of the page, but there is still more than enough white space for a beginning reader to use. The vocabulary is very limited, but easy enough for a beginning reader to handle on their own. The characters convey the change in emotion from inquisitive to argumentative to angry perfectly.

I laughed out loud the first time that I read the book myself. And I had quite a few preschoolers who enjoyed it at my family storytime. I would definitely encourage librarians to get this into the hands of beginning readers — to make sure it doesn’t become lost in the picture books!


Honor: Mr. Putter and Tabby Turn the Page by Cynthia Rylant and Arthur Howard

This sweet story will touch the hearts of librarians everywhere. Mr. Putter and Tabby sign up to read books together at the library, but when Mrs. Teaberry and Zeke the dog also sign up, they become nervous about the event. Will Zeke manage to stay out of trouble?

A more advanced beginning reader, this will charm many existing fans of the series and will draw in new fans!

Honor: Waiting Is Not Easy! by Mo Willems

Piggie has a suprise for Gerald, but he must wait. Can he wait until Piggie’s surprise arrives?

I often think that there is no greater fan of Elephant and Piggie than myself. And then I immediately meet a child that has connected with Piggie and Gerald on a perfect childhood level and I gladly relinquish my title as “Number One Fan”. This is a fabulous addition to the series, one that nearly eclipsed We Are In a Book! as my favorite.