I was laughing out loud in the bookstore (all by myself) while I was reading this book! People may think I need to "get out" more often, but no, that is such not the case. Here is the thing: I think Mo Willems is just EXTRAORDINARY! He created two adorable best friends character" Gerald (the elephant) and Piggie (the pig, of course). And these two characters have more LIFE than any other character I have seen in children's books. He gave these two characters such a strong, unique, funny personalities that after reading a couple of these books you just fall in love with them.
In his book, I Love My New Toy, Piggie has a terrific new toy and can't wait to show it to Gerald. When Gerald plays with this new toy, it "breaks" when it lands on the floor and with this event comes a bit of drama that puts their friendship to a test. When reading this book, you HAVE to slow down and appreciate the characters' expressions when they are conversing. It says it all. It feels so real. Their frustration. Their excitement. Their sadness. It is just adorable. The next book I found by Mo Willems is, I Will Surprise My Friend.
So here is the scoop behind this story, Gerald and Piggie ran into two funny little squirrels having a blast by hiding and surprising each other. Inspired by the two squirrels, Gerald and Piggie decided they were going to give this game a try. It looks like fun surprising each other...well...they DID surprise each other in an unexpected way.
Something new I noticed that Mo Willems used in this book are the thinking bubbles with black and gray illustrations. I love the contrast with the color pictures because it makes those thinking bubbles stand out. This is another great feature to teach children when using mentor texts! And again, please notice Piggie and Gerald's face expressions, they are hilarious! After using Mo Willems books with my Kindergarten, First and Second Grade ESL classes this year, I can say this much...
- His books inspire children to read. The lovely characters and their amazing conversations make children want to pick up his books and read them!
- My kindergarten class learned most of their sight words thanks to Elephant and Piggie Book Series. They read them over and over again.
- My students learned about expressing emotions in their characters in different ways: through illustrations, through face expressions, by using ALL CAPITAL letters to show strong emotions like anger or frustration.
Please check out Mo Willems' blog. You will love it.
So that was the beginning of my saturday morning, but there is more to come LATER! I got some great pics to share as well! Stay tuned!