The Geisel Award is given annually to the authors and illustrators of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year. The award is named for Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, who once said, “Children want the same things we want: to laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted.”
The 2021 Geisel Award was given to See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka with honors being awarded to The Bear in My Family by Maya Tatsukawa, Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom! by Kelly Starling Lyons and Nina Mata, What About Worms!? by Ryan T. Higgins, and Where’s Baby? by Anne Hunter.
See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog by David LaRochelle and Mike Wohnoutka
What happens when the book gets it wrong? Max is not a cat– Max is a dog! But much to his dismay, this book keeps instructing readers to “see the cat.” How can Max get through to the book that he is a dog? In a trio of stories for beginning readers, author David LaRochelle introduces the excitable Max, who lets the book know in irresistibly emphatic dialogue that the text is not to his liking. Illustrator Mike Wohnoutka hilariously depicts the pup’s reactions to the narrator and to the wacky cast of characters who upend Max’s– and readers’ –expectations as the three stories build to an immensely satisfying conclusion.
The Bear in My Family by Maya Tatsukawa
“I live with a bear,” the story’s young narrator declares. The bear is loud, messy, uncouth, and very strong (too strong!). For some reason, his parents treat the bear like family, despite his protests. Why can’t they see? Then he runs into some bullies on the playground. When the bear ROOAARS with all her might and scares them away, he realizes that there are advantages to having a bear in the family. In a delightful twist, the narrator’s older sister (the bear) appears, telling him that she is NOT a bear. But if she is, HE is too—because two bears are even better than one!
Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom! by Kelly Starling Lyons and Nina Mata
Ty can’t wait to ride his brand-new scooter at the park. Other kids zip and zoom by like race cars, but all Ty can do is wobble! Ty wants to give up, but a new friend helps Ty give it another try.
Celebrate imagination and the power of persistence in Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom! by the acclaimed author and illustrator team Kelly Starling Lyons and Nina Mata.
Where’s Baby? by Anne Hunter
In this clever introduction to prepositions, a near-sighted Papa is looking for his baby. Is Baby up in the tree? Is Baby under the log? Is Baby around the corner? Where could Baby be?
Readers will delight in spotting the little fox on every page as Papa wanders the forest, encountering other animals all along the way, but never quite able to spot his own baby. Anne Hunter’s delicate and lovely illustrations with their limited palette highlight the humor of this adorable hide-and-seek tale.
What About Worms!? by Ryan T. Higgins
Tiger unwittingly helps some worms overcome their fear of tigers with a well-placed, informative book, but will a wormy hug aid a fearful Tiger?