Author Showcase : Mo Willems

by Carrie Anne
Today I will Fly
M-M-May means M-M-Mo. Mo Willems
I love children’s books, all sorts of children’s books, but some of my favorites seem to be written by the same author. I wrote about our collection of books by Lauren Child we have in our home library. This month I wanted to talk about another favorite author: Mo Willems. His stories are fun and his illustrations simple. It was hard, but I was able to pick a few of our favorites to share with you.

Today I Will Fly! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

age 4-6

Elephant Gerald is cautious and a little pessimistic. Piggie is optimistic and somewhat reckless. And the two of them are best friends. Piggie has decided today is the day she will fly. Gerald knows pigs can’t fly but that doesn’t deter Piggie and maybe her persistence will pay off. I love that the illustrations focus just on Elephant and Piggie on a white backdrop. This keeps the focus on the characters and doesn’t clutter up the page with extraneous elements. The clean and simple images also make it easy for the text to stand out, great for beginning readers. The words are simple and repeated throughout the story. My kids love the antics and back-and-forth conversations between Elephant and Piggie; they respect each others differences and it’s these differences that make them great together. Today I Will Fly is just one book in the growing Elephant and Piggie series.

Edwina, The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct

age 4-6
Everyone loves Edwina; everyone except Reginald Van Hoobie-Doobie. Perhaps it’s because Edwina is a dinosaur and Reginald knows that dinosaur’s are extinct. He decides to educate everyone on this fact but no matter what he does, no one seems to listen to him; no one except Edwina. From flyers to a one-man-band, my kids love what Reginald does to try and get people to listen to his ‘Dinosaurs are extinct’ message. I love that the one person Reginald has an issue with (Edwina) is the one who helps him understand his real issue; he just wants people to listen to him.
naked mole rat

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed

age 3-7
When you start this story you are told 3 things about naked mole rats, one of which is they are all naked, except Wilbur. Wilbur loves clothes. He loves how he looks and how different clothes enable him to express his varying personalities and moods. The other naked mole rats are shocked by this behaviour. After many attempts to convince Wilbur to shed his clothes, the naked mole rats seek help from the Grand-pah, the oldest and wisest naked mole rat. A proclamation is made but it’s not what anyone is expecting. Similar to Willem’s other animal character books, the animals are the main focus without adding to much background (just the pale pink naked colour of the mole rats). There is more text in this story than Willem’s other books but the placement and font usage makes it interesting on the page. The story isn’t so much about wearing (or not wearing) clothing but rather sticking by your convictions and questioning what people do around you. This is a great book to encourage kids to have courage and belief in themselves and others will follow.
cat the cat who is that

Cat the Cat, Who Is That?

age 3-5
Cat Cat is you guessed it, a cat. She travels through the pages of the book introducing us to her friends: Mouse Mouse, Duck Duck, Fish Fish. Then she meets someone she doesn’t know, but not for long. Cat Cat has a new friend. This is a new series from Willems. The illustrations again focus on the characters without adding a lot of background imagery, though these images have a different feel than Willems other work. I think it’s because the colours are brighter primary colours versus the muted pastels I’m use to seeing. The text is basic and large and repeated on the pages which is great for beginner readers. My 3-year-old loves to ‘read’ this story now to her siblings.
Carrie Anne  is a writer, editor and mom of three young kids.  Read more book reviews and other views on her blog Another Day. Another thought …or two.
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  1. says

    We love Mo here too! Knuffle bunny, and Elephant and Piggie are great but we love love love the Pigeon, the Peanut first laughed out loud at a book for Don’t Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late, and since then we’ve been on the look out for all things Mo
    .-= Tami´s last blog ..A Buzz with the first taste of spring 5×7 photograph =-.

  2. says

    A friend gave us Knuffle Bunny a while back (and my daughter spotted a dvd with an animated reading of the book at the library which we have out at the moment) and we also loved the Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and the pigeon ones we’ve read so I’m definitely going to look out for the rest of these.

  3. says

    So cute! I can’t wait to check these books out. I know my kids will absolutely love them.

    Right now the kids and I are reading a fun book titled, “Sewing a Friendship” by Kids will be inspired by the fact that it was written and illustrated by Natalie Tinti. My girls were able to relate to the author, as she is around their age (10 years old)- thought that was incredible and the theme is a great one- consisting of friendship, fun, and getting along.
    .-= Becky´s last blog ..beckybooks: Just realized that there is a new Tinkerbell book coming out on April 13th! Beautiful photos… the kids and I can’t wait! =-.

  4. says

    I need to grab the Naked Mole Rat one.
    We love his books. Elephant and Piggie are currently favorites because the text is right at my son’s current reading level. I think we like I Will Surprise My Friend most.

  5. says

    Mo Willems is my favorite author of children’s books. I am often a guest reader for children, and if I am given the choice of books to read, it is almost always a Mo Willems book. I just read Edwina to two classrooms the other day! The pigeon is my favorite, but Leonardo the Terrible Monster is a close second.
    .-= Luci Schaeffer´s last blog ..Adam’s Special Day =-.


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