David LaRochelle, Mike Wohnoutka win Geisel Award for 'See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog'

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/25/2021


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations



CHICAGO – Author David LaRochelle and illustrator Mike Wohnoutka are the 2021 recipients of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for “See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog” published by Candlewick Press. The award was announced today by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), during the ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibition, held virtually Jan. 22 - 26.

The Geisel Award is given to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.  Award winners are recognized for their literary and artistic achievements that demonstrate creativity and imagination to engage children in reading. Award and honor book recipients will receive their awards in Chicago during the ALA Annual Conference in June. 

“See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog” is a deceptively simple book that teaches readers the power of words. The text is in direct contrast with the illustrations, defying both the reader’s and Max the Dog’s expectations. Surprises and twists keep readers engaged and cheering for Max as he tries to outwit the narrator.  

The simple text on the unadorned left page provides a stark contrast with the whimsical and expressive illustrations on the right. The illustrations move the silliness along as Max the Dog interacts with the text, shaping it into a story of his own. 

“Short and simple sentences pull children into Max’s interactions with the book’s narrator, and they will delight as Max eventually learns the power of words and takes agency over his own story,” said Geisel Award Committee Chair Lori Coffey Hancock.

David LaRochelle, a former elementary school teacher, is the author and illustrator of numerous picture books, including “The Best Pet of All,” a Children's Book Sense Top Ten selection and one of Child Magazine's Best Books of 2004. He lives in Minnesota.

Mike Wohnoutka has illustrated over 25 books for children. He currently resides in Minneapolis with his wife and two children.

Four Geisel Honor Books were named:

"The Bear in My Family" written and illustrated by Maya Tatsukawa and published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House

There’s a loud, messy, and bossy member in the family.  That person is actually a bear, but no one else sees that except a little boy.  Living with a bear seems impossible, but it turns out they can be the best part of the family.  

Maya Tatsukawa is an illustrator, book designer, and crafter.  She lives just outside Boston with her family and her cat.

"Ty’s Travels: Zip, Zoom!" written by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Nina Mata and published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.

Ty imagines he’s a race car driver, zipping along on his new scooter. At first he only wobbles, but with help from a girl named Ari he persists and the new friends zoom to a joyful finish.

Kelly Starling Lyons has written more than a dozen fiction and nonfiction books including Caldecott Honor book Going on Home with Daddy; and Ellen's Broom, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator honor book. 

Nina Mata has illustrated several books including the bestseller “I Promise” by LeBron James and “What Does it Mean to be an American,” by Rana DiOrio and Elad Moran. Born in the Philippines, she now lives in New Jersey with her family. 

"What About Worms!?” written and illustrated by Ryan T. Higgins and published by Hyperion Books for Children, an imprint of Disney Book Group

Tiger is big, brave, and not afraid of anything - except worms. He lets his fear of worms get in the way of enjoying some of his favorite things. Luckily, the worms are just as afraid of him….until they come across a book and learn more about tigers!

Ryan lives and works in Southern Maine with a menagerie including dogs, cats, geckos, a tortoise, his wife, and his animal-loving children. 

"Where’s Baby?" written and illustrated by Anne Hunter and published by Tundra Books of Northern New York, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers, a Penguin Random House Company.

Can you find baby fox?  Readers will enjoy following father’s journey as he looks over, under, around, and into things, discovering all sorts of other animals, until he finally gets a hint from mother fox.  When Baby is found he invites the reader to “do it again”.

Anne Hunter  is an illustrator and picture-book writer best known for her books about animals and nature. She makes her home with the foxes and the owls and the skunks and her family in the woods of Southern Vermont.

The members of the 2021 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Committee are Chair Lori Coffey Hancock, The Lexington School, Lexington, Kentucky; Jessica Gillis, John M. Tobin Elementary School Library, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Jamie Fujiko Kurumaji, Fresno County Public Library, Fresno, California; Michelle Ng, San Mateo County Libraries, Belmont, California; Katie E. Patterson, Aloha Community Library, Aloha, Oregon; Chuck Pieri, Elkhart Public Library, Elkhart, Indiana; and Beth Wright Redford, Madison, Wisconsin.

ALSC is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children. With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers, and educational faculty, ALSC members are committed to engaging communities to build healthy, successful futures for all children. To learn more about ALSC, visit their website at www.ala.org/alsc.

For more information on the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit www.ala.org/yma.