The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winners are quickly becoming favorite read alouds for me. Named for Dr. Seuss, the award is given for the best beginner reader books of the year. The award was started in 2006 and winners include Are You Ready to Play Outside and There's a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems, One Boy by Laura Vaccaro Seeger and a couple of Fly Guy books by Tedd Arnold, just to name a few.
One of this year's honor choices was Little Mouse Gets Ready by Jeff Smith, the creator of Bone, and fellow OSU alum. Little Mouse Gets Ready was published by Toon Books which is quickly becoming one of my favorite publishers for early readers. They are also responsible for the Geisel winner this year, Benny and Penny in The Big No-No by Geoffrey Hayes and past honor book Stinky by Eleanor Davis. The graphic novel/comic book appearance make them very kid friendly regardless of reading level. They also tend to have humor on several levels which makes them very reader friendly.
Anyway, this week I had some extra time in THE PIT so I actually read two books to most classes and after reading Little Mouse to the pre school and kindergarten classes, I knew the older kids would like it too. The story revolves around Little Mouse getting ready for a trip to the barn with his family. Mama continues to encourage him to hurry up from out of the picture and Little Mouse gets dressed in the picture as he tells the reader what he likes best about going to the barn.
The illustrations are cute without being cutsey, if that makes sense, and watching Little Mouse get dressed is hilarious. The first thing to go on is the underpants and as everybody knows, as soon as a teacher says the word "underpants" out loud laughter follows! The great thing about the book is the amount of detail that Jeff Smith gets in just a few words, for example Little Mouse tells us to be sure to look for the tag because "that's the back" and "be sure to put your tail in the tail hole" which always brings out the giggles and smiles from a group of kids.
I'm not going to spoil the end here, but just let me say that the surprise ending when Mama actually does show up, makes me laugh EVERY TIME! This book will be great for all readers, easy to read, fun illustrations and a great sense of humor.