Peri Sheinin - Beth Lisa Feldman Prize in Children's Literature

“Taz Tries for the Top”, an illustrated work, falls into the tradition of the quest/adventure. The protagonist, a tapir named Taz, seeks to move up from the rain forest's ground to reach the top of the canopy so as to finally gain an unfiltered, direct view of the sun. Along the way up, Taz encounters a series of other animals as well as two birds, all of whom provide a helping "hand." These efforts eventually leave Taz no closer to the goal -- so, through self-reliance, Taz redoubles the efforts and makes the journey up through diligence; and so upon reaching the goal, finds much wonder (mixed with a bit of concern about what comes next). The story is unrushed and gentle, carrying the reader with Taz toward an understanding of the value of friends and the value of perseverance -- but even more so, the joys of pursuing imagination's delights.