Geisel 2009 Award & Honors

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

Winner: Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems

Gerald and Piggie have big plans to play outside. They are going to run and skip and jump and it will be wonderful. But when it starts to rain, Piggie is so upset. She hates the rain! How will they play outside in the rain? Luckily two little worms come out and show that the rain is not all that bad to play in.

This is a classic Elephant and Piggie story. A problem is presented and the two friends work it out by the end of the book. These books have simple vocabulary, make great use of white space, and the characters convey emotions remarkably. It’s no surprise to anyone that Mo Willems has collected as many Geisel Awards and Honors as he has.

“Are You Ready to Play Outside?” is an early core Elephant and Piggie book and no library should be without it. Great for beginning readers, read-alouds, and anyone who likes to laugh.


Honor: Chicken Said, “Cluck!” by Judyann Ackerman Grant

Earl and Pearl are planting pumpkins and chicken is in the way. But when grasshoppers threaten Earl and Pearl’s pumpkins, who can help chase them away? A fantastic beginning reader book with lots of repetition and simple vocabulary. Most of the complex words (pumpkins, grasshoppers) are clearly supported by the text. Another of note: diverse characters in everyday situations!

Honor: One Boy by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

One boy counts his way through the paintings that are on his wall. What appears to be a simple counting book is made all the more complex by Vaccaro Seeger’s imaginative and delightful cut-outs. A great source of vocabulary and a chance for children to practice making predictions about what will happen after the page turn.

Honor: Stinky by Eleanor Davis

Stinky knows that all children love to take baths, eat cake and apples, and do not like mucky mud, slimy slugs, or smelly monsters like him. But when Nick — a child — wanders in Stinky’s swamp, Stinky has a plan to get him out! Nick and Stinky are clearly friends in the making and beginning readers will definitely follow their journey to the end. “Stinky” is told in a comic book style with panels and dialog bubbles. This will absolutely help beginning readers.

Honor: Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator by Sarah C. Campbell

A non-fiction title honor book tells the tale of a wolfsnail (who eats other slugs and snails) as he searches for his prey. Simple sentences work well with the photographs to tell the story. Definitely a great beginning reader for those who are interested in non-fiction and science!

Geisel 2010 Award & Honors

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

Winner: Benny and Penny in the Big No-No by Geoffrey Hayes

This is not the first graphic novel to garner the attention of the Geisel Award committee, but it is the first graphic novel to take home the gold medal!

Benny and Penny are playing outside when Benny discovers his pail is missing. He thinks the new neighbor might have taken it and travels into their yard — a big no-no — to try and find it.

This is an excellent beginning reader. The action of the story is familiar to most young children (playing, sharing, crying, etc.) and will be easily understood. I love the expressive pictures that will help struggling readers follow along. But my favorite part of the book is actually the back matter which explains to parents how the “Toon Into Reading” program can help young readers. These five tips are great to give to parents just starting to navigate the waters of beginning readers.

A fun and humorous story that children of all ages can relate to.


Honor: I Spy Fly Guy! by Tedd Arnold

Another wonderful addition to this series. In this one, Buzz and Fly Guy and playing hide-and-seek. When Fly Guy flies into a garbage can and gets taken away by the garbageman, Buzz stops at nothing to find his friend. This story has lots of repetitive words and is clearly supported by the illustrations. A great beginning reader for kids looking for friendship stories.

Honor: Little Mouse Gets Ready by Jeff Smith

Little Mouse’s mama wants him to get ready so that they can go to the barn. Little Mouse spends all his time putting on his clothes piece by piece until mama reminds him that mice don’t wear clothes! Word bubbles help kids figure out who is doing the talking in this book and the illustrations are done in a cartoon style. Excellent punch line at the end.

Honor: Mouse and Mole: Fine Feathered Friends by Wong Herbert Yee

Mouse and Mole are two friends who both want to observe the birds to make bird books. But the birds are scared of them and their noises. But these fine feathered friends come up with a plan to see the birds and to make the best possible bird book. Told in four chapters, this is a beginning reader for older readers. Give it to kids who enjoyed Frog & Toad or any of the Rylant series.

Honor: Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day by Kate McMullan

Wagner is being tricked left and right on April Fool’s Day. Everyone thinks the jokes are funny except for Wagner. That is until he comes up with his own joke! Told in three chapters, this beginning reader will have readers laughing along as poor Wagner navigates his funny day.