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23 November 2011

Review: Three Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems

 I must admit, I have never read any of the Elephant and Piggie books (horrible, I know!).  I enjoyed Knuffle Bunny and the Pigeon books (also by Mo Willems), and figured that the E & P books would have a similar humor and similar storytelling style.

Rather than writing three separate reviews, I figured I could group all the Cybils nominated Elephant and Piggie books (Happy Pig Day, I Broke My Trunk and Should I Share My Ice Cream) together and write one BIG review.

Happy Pig Day's summary from Goodreads:
Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.
In Happy Pig Day! Piggie celebrates her favorite day of the year! But will Gerald the Elephant be included in the festivities?
Using vocabulary that is perfect for beginning readers (and vetted by an early-learning specialist), Mo Willems has crafted a heartfelt story about celebrating the special occasions in life. Fans of the Geisel Award-winning duo will want to join the party!

Piggie is excited, its her favorite day of the year---a day to sing, dance, and be with her friends.  Gerald is happy for Piggie, but is sad because since he is not a pig, he thinks he cannot celebrate Happy Pig Day with her.  Happy Pig Day is a super cute book that teaches kids to include others.


I Broke My Trunk's summary from Goodreads:

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.
In I Broke My Trunk! Gerald tells Piggie the long, crazy story about breaking his trunk. Will Piggie end up with a long, crazy story of her own?

I really like that this story builds on itself---introducing first Hippo; then Hippo and Rhino; then Hippo, Rhino and Hippo's (BIG) sister; then finally Hippo, Rhino, Hippo's sister and a piano.  However, thats not how Gerald broke his trunk, in a cute twist, we learn how excited Gerald was to tell his friend Piggie about his exploits and trips, falls and breaks his trunk.  Of course Piggie LOVES this crazy story and rushes off to tell others, with a pretty humorous ending.


Should I Share My Ice Cream? summary from Goodreads:

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.

Gerald and Piggie are best friends.
In Should I Share My Ice Cream? Gerald has a big decision to make. But will he make it in time?

Of the three books I just read, I think this one was my favorite.  Gerald is so happy to have his ice cream (and aren't we all?), but then can't decide if he wants to be nice and share his ice cream with Piggie or eat it all himself.  I KNOW this crisis of conscience is one that kids everywhere has (because I have them myself---should I share my candy with my husband?  He'll never know.  Well, he does really like this kind of candy.  But he's at work.  AH!...and now I want candy)  In the end, Gerald spends too much time deciding and all his ice cream melts.  But Piggie shows up.

I can see myself using this book as a kind of mentor text in my classroom to help teach adjectives.  Gerald goes to great lengths to describe how great his ice cream is, and uses some great synonyms and adjectives.

Overall, what a cute series of books!  I can't believe I waited this long to read them!  I know kids like them as I always see students reading them.  And, not just young beginning readers, I see older readers with these books as well.  The words are easy and somewhat repetitive and the pictures stark.  But man, Mo Willems can do a lot with so little! 



I Broke My Trunk was nominated by Becky of Becky's Book Blog
Should I Share My Ice Cream? was nominated by Sarah Wendorf of Page In Training
Happy Pig Day! was nominated by Danielle Smith of There's A Book

*The above opinions expressed are mine alone and not that of the Cybils judging panel.*

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