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.

Review: Penny and Her Doll

The Basics

Title: Penny and Her Doll
Author: Kevin Henkes
ISBN: 9780062081995
Copyright Date: 2012
Publisher: Greenwillow Books, HarperCollins Publishers
Reader Brand: I Can Read!
Level: Level 1 Beginning Reading
Series: Penny (Penny and Her Marble, Penny and Her Song)


Gram has sent Penny a doll. Penny loves her new doll, but struggles to figure out her new doll’s name.

Penny is great little character (true confessions: I have a stuffed Penny that I love to pieces), and I’m fearful that we may have seen the end of her since Penny and Her Marble was published nearly two years ago.

What works so wonderfully in the Penny series, in my opinion, are Henkes’s illustrations. His mice are so expressive that I even detect a hint of a side-eye from Mama when talk about her favorite weed. (Spoiler alert: Mama does not have a favorite weed.) It’s such a great asset to aide comprehension since the word difficulty is higher.

The book is told in three chapters which makes it more than manageable for a reader to do a chapter a night, or would even work as a family read-aloud. Definitely a recommended purchase for all libraries; please write/publish more Penny books!