Tuesday, February 01, 2011

203-204 (2011 #8-9). Two Award-Winning Beginner Readers

When the American Library Association announced its annual Youth Media Awards on January 10, 2011, I went to my local public library and checked out the winners and honor books they had.  The following are two of the three books that won Geisel Award designations.  The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the "most distinguished American book for beginning readers."

Bink & Gollie took the top honor in 2011.  Written by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee, and illustrated by animator Tony Fucile, this 81-page, three-chapter book was also named one of the ten Best Illustrated Children's Books of 2010 by The New York Times.  Tiny Bink and tall Gollie are friends who sometimes disagree (pages 20-21):
"The problem with Gollie," said Bink, "is that it's either Gollie's way or the highway."..."The problem with Bink," said Gollie, "is her unwillingness to compromise."
Fucile's comic-like illustrations remind me of Calvin and Hobbes and are very engaging.  The stories - not so much.  I'm also a little surprised that this book won the Geisel.  Gollie in particular uses big words (as in the example above) and complex sentence structure that would be hard for beginning readers to handle independently.

A better choice for the award, in my opinion, would have been one of the Honor Books, written and illustrated by Grace Lin, Ling & Ting: Not Exactly the Same!  Ling and Ting are identical twins who, while wearing (adorable!) matching dresses, display their individuality in other ways.  This 44-page book has six very short, humorous, interrelated chapters.  The twins' heritage is highlighted in the chapters about chopsticks and making Chinese dumplings.  Lin's bold-colored paintings are eye-popping.  Lin went to a lot of effort to make the vocabulary and sentence structure appropriate for beginning readers, who should be able to read this book on their own.  There's even a 14-page educator's guide and paper dolls available!

© Amanda Pape - 2011

[These books were borrowed from and returned to my local public library.] 

1 comment:

  1. I love readable little books like these with their engaging stories. Thanks for this post, I'll have to look these two up.