by Carrie Anne
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.
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.
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.
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 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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