Reviews of the 2024 Geisel Award Winners


Fox Has a ProblemFox Has a Problem [My First I Can Read!]
by Corey R. Tabor; illus. by the author
Primary    Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins    32 pp.
8/23    9780063277915    $17.99
Paper ed.  9780063277922    $5.99
e-book ed.  9780063277946    $5.99

Fox and his friends are back in this newest installment in Tabor’s Geisel-winning (for Fox the Tiger) beginning-reader series. “Fox has a problem.” When Fox’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he sees many other kites stuck in trees. He brings in a giant fan to blow them down, and it blows all the kites, along with all the leaves on the trees, into Bear’s den. “Now Bear has a problem…” This sets off a chain reaction of questionable choices and humorously disastrous results. Tabor is skilled at letting a controlled vocabulary and tight sentences play it straight while his illustrations bring the comedy. Short statements that lean on sight words and repetition read like wry commentary on Fox’s antics, which are made plain in Tabor’s colored-pencil and watercolor illustrations. The composition here is perfectly planned — not a line or gesture wasted — and the images grow ever more absurd as the pages turn and Fox brings in a giant vacuum to suck up all the leaves and accidentally sucks up Bear and blocks Rabbit’s burrow. By the time readers learn that Fox has “a sharp idea” above an image of Fox’s hand holding a very large, very sharp needle, they’ll be giggling in anticipation of exactly how badly this is all going to end. ADRIENNE L. PETTINELLI

From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Honor Books

Henry, like AlwaysHenry, like Always
by Jenn Bailey; illus. by Mika Song
Primary    Chronicle    48 pp.
3/23    9781797213897    $14.99

Henry, a boy on the autism spectrum (first introduced in the 2019 picture book A Friend for Henry, rev. 5/19), likes everything about school. Life in Classroom Ten is entirely predictable. Mrs. Tanaka posts the schedule for the week, and Henry can count on ­having Music on Wednesdays, Free Choice every Thursday, and Share Time on Fridays. So when Mrs. Tanaka announces that the class will hold a special parade on the upcoming Friday in place of Share Time, Henry responds with dismay. All week, Henry objects, but to no avail. On the big day, Henry hands his teacher his Quiet Card and enters the classroom closet to regroup. There, he encounters classmate Samuel, who is unhappy about the parade for a different reason. Henry finds a solution to Samuel’s discomfort, a way to keep Friday as a time to share, and a comfortable place for himself in the parade. The ending of this short chapter book, heavily illustrated and with a format and content to appeal to new readers, is as satisfying as Bailey’s understanding prose and Song’s gentle, friendly illustrations. Henry is an extremely sympathetic hero — relatable and authentic. His open face expresses anxiety, calm, distress, or delight with just small changes to his eyebrows or mouth. Readers will recognize Henry as a child who succeeds in adjusting to what is, for him, an enormous challenge. MAEVE VISSER KNOTH

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.


Worm and Caterpillar Are Friends [Ready-to-Read Graphics]
by Kaz Windness; illus. by the author
Primary    Simon Spotlight    64 pp.
1/23    9781665920018    $17.99
Paper ed.  9781665920001    $6.99
e-book ed.  9781665920025    $6.99






For more, click on the tag ALA LibLearnX 2024.

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