2023 Geisel Award Winner: I Did It! by Michael Emberley

I Did It!, winner of this year’s Geisel Award for early readers, charmingly illustrates a common childhood experience: trying and failing.

I Did It! by Michael Emberley. Holiday House (I Like to Read Comics), 2022, 40 pages.

Reading Level: Easy Reader, ages 3-5

Recommended for: ages 4-6

Every child—and every adult, for that matter—knows the frustration of trying and failing. I Did It! follows a loveable creature of uncertain species through a series of mishaps, as he (assuming the gender) tries to participate in the fun activities of his friends. Said friends combine animal and mechanical characteristics, but all are cute and friendly and helpful as our hero tries to build, climb, swing, and ride. He begins with confidence: “I can do it.” But at each failure, “I can’t do it!” Every young reader can sympathize with his frustration and anger. That’s why his final triumph—“I did it!”—is especially encouraging.

A handful of words and endearing illustrations will help a just-beginning reader close the book with a satisfied, “I did it!”

Overall Rating: 4.5

  • Worldview/moral value: 4
  • Artistic/literary value: 5

NOTE: I Did It! won the 2022 Theodore Geisel Award for excellent in books for beginning readers. Michael Emberley is the son of Ed Emberley, that prolific creator of how-to-draw books from our childhood.

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Janie Cheaney

Janie is the VERY senior staff writer for Redeemed Reader, as well as a long-time contributor to WORLD Magazine and an author of nine books for children. The rest of the time she's long-distance smooching on her four grandchildren (not an easy task). She lives with her equally senior husband of almost-fifty years in the Ozarks of Missouri.

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