Stacey Loscalzo

Jan 06

Cybils Finalists

by Stacey

After spending this fall buried under early readers and early chapters books, my committee of Cybil’s panelists (AnastasiaTerry , Cynthia, Julie, Melissa, and Jeff)  narrowed our lists down to five finalists in each of our two categories. The text below was posted earlier this week on the Cybil’s blog but I wanted to share it with my readers here today. Early Reader finalists are described below. Come back tomorrow to learn about our selections for Early Chapter Books…

Easy Readers

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies
by Erica Silverman
Nominated by: Madigan McGillicuddy

In this endearing sixth episode of the series, Cowgirl Kate and her horse, Cocoa, meet and discover baby animals on their farm. Told in four short chapters, the stories are empowering and gently dramatic. The two friends go on a night watch to see a calf born. Cocoa tries being “springy and zingy” with the new calf. A puppy arrives at the farm–to Kate’s delight and Cocoa’s concern. And in the final chapter, we come full circle with another night watch and a visit from a “ghost” in the barn. Full of warm humor, friendship, and action, this book will be a sure hit with early readers who have some established skills and are making the turn toward chapter books. Good use of repetition, short sentences, and picture cues will help early readers to be successful. Likable characters, sweetly satisfying stories, and fun cowgirl language (gully, loft, bale, nickered) will make readers want to saddle up and come along! —Cynthia Lord 

Fly Guy Meets Fly Girl
by Tedd Arnold
Cartwheel Books
Nominated by: Mary McKenna Siddals

Fly Guy, the big eyed fly pet of a boy named Buzz, meets the perfect girl … Fly Girl. Fly Girl’s girl, Lizz, brags that Fly Girl can do tricks and talk better than Fly Guy. So Fly Girl and Fly Guy compete to see who can fly the fanciest, who can talk the best, and who is grossest. Before they know it, they fall in love and see their entire future together – kissing, marriage, and a dog-food can home. But the couple soon realizes that they can’t leave their boy and girl. So, to the relief of kissing-is-gross fans all over the world, Fly Girl and Fly Guy decide to just be friends. Colorful cartoon images stand out from the surrounding white space paired with simple text to make this easy reader a visual delight. Tedd Arnold, the author and illustrator, originally created the Fly Guy series with the first book, Hi! Fly Guy. —Melissa Taylor


National Geographic Readers: Ants
by Melissa Stewart
National Geographic Children’s Books
Nominated by: Jeff Barger

From habitat to habits, body parts and numbers, National Geographic: Ants covers it all. Part of what makes this book fun is that the ants are, literally, larger than life … these are not the “tiny” things crawling around our yard or kitchen counter. The closeup shots that fill this easy reader let kids see a lot more than that! If you have an animal (and insect) loving reader, they will pore over this one. This is a nonfiction book you’ll enjoy sharing with your kids as they read to you, because you are guaranteed to learn something new. —Terry Doherty

The Babysitters (Cork and Fuzz)
by Dori Chaconas
Nominated by: Stacy DeKeyser

Cork, a muskrat, and Fuzz, a possum, are the Odd Couple of the early reader world. Cork is the helpful, understanding animal who patiently cares for a baby porcupine throughout the story while Fuzz takes care of only himself. While Fuzz goes about his own things, he inadvertently entertains the young animal. By the end of the story, Cork and Fuzz come to realize that in their own ways, they have done a great job of sharing the caretaking responsibilities. Cork and Fuzz is made up of four short chapters that will give young readers a sense of accomplishment as they finish each one. Detailed illustrations break up the story in meaningful and not distracting ways. Early readers will enjoy this story while also strengthening their ‘reading muscle’ as they practice the strategies young readers need to grow. —Stacey Loscalzo

We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
by Mo Willems
Nominated by: Eric Carpenter

The Elephant and Piggie books had already made their mark in the world of early readers before the arrival of this year’s new favorite, We Are in a Book!Now if there is any parent, teacher or child who has yet to fall in love with these books, this is their chance. Willem’s expressively drawn duo is back with all their humor and wit as they realize that they, in fact, are in a book. They jump about joyfully as they come to understand that the person staring at them is a reader. It is Piggie who first grasps the power they have been given. The two realize that if they say a word, the reader will read the word. While children will enjoy this book for the animal’s comical expressions and for the ease with which a new reader can read a meaningful and funny book, most adults won’t be able to miss the not-so-subtle message that Willems shares: With writing comes power. Some of Willem’s young readers may grow to express this same power in their own writing. —Stacey Loscalzo

One Comment

  1. Madigan says:

    I can’t tell you how excited I am about this list. I’m rooting for Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Spring Babies, of course, because it’s the one that I nominated, but the excellence of these other titles is really going to make this a tough choice.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *