Reviews of the 2019 Geisel Award winners


Fox the Tiger [I Can Read Book]
by Corey R. Tabor; illus. by the author
Primary     Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins     32 pp.
8/18     978-0-06-239869-7    $16.99
Paper ed. 978-0-06-239867-3      $4.99

Fox thinks tigers are very cool, so he paints stripes on himself and "goes for a prowl." Soon Tiger meets Turtle, who wants to be a race car, and Rabbit, who wants to be a robot. But after rain washes away their costumes, Squirrel's admiration ("Wow! A fox!") helps Fox realize that foxes are pretty cool, too. Expressive illustrations further a highly readable text, and the plot will capture brand-new readers' interest. KARI ALLEN

From the Spring 2019 issue of The Horn Book Guide.


Honor Books

See Pip Flap [Ready-to-Read: Adventures of Otto]
by David Milgrim; illus. by the author
Primary    Simon Spotlight    32 pp.
8/18    978-1-5344-1636-9    $17.99
Paper ed.  978-1-5344-1635-2    $4.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5344-1637-6    $4.99

The latest in Milgrim’s early reader series about robot Otto, mouse Pip, and their creature friends begins with an exit: “See Tweet flap. / See Tweet fly. / Fly, Tweet, fly. / Bye, Tweet, bye.” While watching Tweet take off, Pip becomes inspired to try it (“See Pip flap”), but over the course of several pages-turns (and much flapping), the mouse’s feet remain firmly on the ground. Enter Otto, who constructs a remote-control drone. Pip is happy to operate the drone for a while (“Fly, Pip, fly!”), but soon becomes bored (“Ho hum”) and goes back to flapping. Otto has one more clever solution to offer, which allows Pip’s dreams to take flight. Milgrim’s use of extremely limited vocabulary provides effective support to new readers — and the book’s comic timing is spot-on in the repetition and pacing. So, too, in the clean illustrations, where all that flapping is both understated and hilarious and where the warmth of Otto’s heart — metal though it may be — is apparent in the robot’s ginormous smile. ELISSA GERSHOWITZ

From the January/February 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

The Party and Other Stories [Fox + Chick]
by Sergio Ruzzier; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Chronicle    46 pp.
4/18    978-1-4521-5288-2    $14.99

In a volume with a picture book’s trim size but plenty of graphic-novel elements (simply structured panels, dialogue balloons, sound effects), Ruzzier delivers three stories well suited to both reading newcomers and not-yet-reading listeners. In “The Party,” Chick gets permission to “use” Fox’s bathroom, but, as Chick eventually learns, Fox didn’t mean that Chick could use it as a party venue (“CRASH! THUD! SPLASH!”). In “Good Soup,” Chick says that Fox, who is busy harvesting carrots, should eat things that foxes are “supposed to” eat — until Chick realizes (“Uh-oh”) that foxes are supposed to eat little birds. In “Sit Still,” Chick wants to pose for Fox’s painting, but Chick’s constant comings and goings (“I will go and get a pillow…I will go and get a snack”) make for one frustrated artist. Ruzzier’s finely etched and textured pen, ink, and watercolor vignettes employ a subdued palette less suggestive of a typical graphic novel than of a baby’s nursery. Collectively, these three stories create a profile of an entertaining odd-couple friendship that, if given a few more outings, could make a Frog and Toad–like impression on the picture-book and easy-reader worlds. NELL BERAM

From the July/August 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards.

King & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Tooth
Dori Hillestad Butler; illus. by Nancy Meyers
Primary     Peachtree      48 pp.
3/18     978-1-56145-880-6     $14.95

In Kayla and dog King's fourth beginner chapter book, Kayla loses her tooth at school and brings it home in her class's special tooth fairy pillow. When Kayla discovers the tooth is missing, she and her friend try to solve the mystery. Narrator King's perspective makes an otherwise straightforward story much more engaging, while humorous illustrations reinforce the plot and further forefront King's doggie thoughts. MIRIAM STEINBERG-EGETH

From the Spring 2019 issue of The Horn Book Guide.

Tiger vs. Nightmare
by Emily Tetri; illus. by the author
Primary     Roaring Brook/First Second     64 pp.
11/18     978-1-62672-535-5      $17.99

Tiger's friend Monster was sent to scare her as a baby, but instead they became friends. Since a monster has to scare something, it scares away Tiger's nightmares...until one night a very strong, very scary one gets through. A tale of supportive friendship and common childhood phobias is clearly told for young readers in graphic-novel panels with loosely rendered, emotive pencil and watercolor illustrations. KATRINA HEDEEN

From the Spring 2019 issue of The Horn Book Guide.


For more, click on the tag ALA Midwinter 2019.
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