Simple is Fun: Elephant & Piggie

Gerald (the elephant) and Piggie (the pig) are best friends.  The two could not be more different.  Gerald is the cautious worrier, Piggie the exuberant dreamer.  Together they are the stars of the most delightful and popular series of beginning readers to hit kid lit since The Cat in the Hat.  Mo Willems’ Elephant & Piggie books manage to be simple AND fun at the same time,  brimming with enthusiasm and finishing with a twist that’s sure to produce smiles from both kids and adults.

In There is a Bird on Your Head, Gerald is frantic when he discovers there is a bird on his head!  He does not WANT a bird on his head.  What could be worse?  Well, how about two?  How about a family of birds building a nest?  Is there anything his friend Piggie can do to help?

Willems is both author and illustrator, and his pictures are simple, uncluttered, even sparse, while still managing to perfectly convey action and emotion.  All the text is dialogue, contained in color-coded speech bubbles, so no need for “he said” or “she said.”  Nor are there any complicated adverbs like “timidly” or “enthusiastically” — all that information is communicated by the size of the font and the posture of the speaker.  Even a reluctant, struggling early reader can usually read these independently after a couple times with an adult — and, more importantly, will WANT to re-read them.

The Theodore Seuss Geisel Award for the best American beginning reader book has only been in existence for seven years — and four of those seven years, the list has included an Elephant & Piggie book.  We have over 90 copies in our medium-sized library, and most are checked out on any given day.  The series so far:

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One response to “Simple is Fun: Elephant & Piggie

  1. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Elephant and Piggie! Ethan read them early on when he was first starting to read full sentences and we both completely loved Gerald and Piggie! We have since passed them on to friends who love them now, too. Mo Willems is so amazing. 🙂

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