I like checking out ALA’s Geisel Award winners, given to authors and illustrators of “the most distinguished” books for beginning readers. I’m not exactly sure what the judging criteria are, but—since they’re geared to the newest readers—I figure the books are likely to have engaging stories told in simple language.
On the first page, a young boy says: I live with a bear.
In the following spreads, we learn what the bear looks like . . .
What the bear sounds like . . .
And a few other particulars:
But when the boy complains to his mom about the bear, she doesn’t take him seriously. She says: Don’t be silly. Why don’t you go to the park?
Which leaves us wondering: Is this bear real? Or is it some sort of unpleasant imaginary friend?
The boy goes off to the park, still grumbling about the bear. When three bullies show up and order him off the swing, he starts thinking a big, loud bear might be useful right about now. And guess who shows up to save the day?
In the next several spreads, the boy changes his tune. Turns out the bear has some good features too.
And then, on the last spread, the bear’s identity is revealed. This loud, strong, messy, annoying, protective, playful and loving character is (have you guessed?) . . . the boy’s big sister.
Anyone who has a sibling—or has observed siblings—will relate to this story. Simple language, yes—plus an engaging story with a sweet and funny twist.
You can check out all the Geisel Award winners over here.
Thanks for reading!