I highly recommend the Elephant & Piggie books by author/illustrator Mo Willems. They are sweet yet silly, simple yet surprising.
My sister Kay introduced us to this series on Blaine’s third birthday back in 2007. And the twenty-fifth (!) and final book was published earlier this month.
The back cover copy on the Elephant & Piggie books says:
“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.”
That sums up what’s so magical to me about these books. They model how to be a good friend to someone who’s different from you.
These books are great ones to read aloud with lots of expression because they are full of exclamation marks. (“AAAAAGGHH!!!”) They also make ideal early readers because they tell a big story with a small number of words. And finding the picture of the pigeon (from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!) on the back endpapers adds to the fun.
All of the books in this series are worth reading, but I will single out a few:
- I Will Surprise My Friend!
This one is my personal favorite. The twist at the end makes me laugh every time. I also love the way this book illustrates how two people can react differently to the same situation.
- Are You Ready to Play Outside?
Blaine loved this one when he was younger. The illustrations are incredible. This book also contains a great message about looking on the bright side, so to speak.
- We Are In a Book!
This one appeals to Larrabee’s sense of humor. It breaks the fourth wall by having Gerald and Piggie recognize themselves as characters. It reminds of one of my childhood favorites, The Monster at the End of this Book, starring the lovable Grover from Sesame Street.
- Can I Play Too?
What do you do when you’re playing catch with your best friend and a snake asks to join your game? (Reminder: You catch with your hands. Snakes have no hands. You see the problem.) This book shows that sometimes you have to think outside the box if you want to include everyone.
I’d love to hear from you. What is your (or your child’s) favorite Elephant & Piggie book?
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