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Number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator Mo Willems has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions (for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity). Other favorites include Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed and Big Frog Can't Fit In. Mo began his career on Sesame Street, where he garnered six Emmy Awards. same as above
The two-time (so far) Geisel Medalist continues to set the bar high for beginning-reader achievement in this latest installment of the Elephant & Piggie series. Cover art depicts Piggie poised to walk away and anxious elephant Gerald's horrified reaction to her imminent departure. Although the title page repeats this cause-and-effect relationship, the book proper opens with the contented pair reveling in each other's company. "This is a good day," Gerald announces, and it is-until a few pages later when Piggie says, "Well, I am going," and her elephant pal pitches a fit of separation-anxiety induced pleading and temper worthy of a certain pigeon (who, since he shows up in every Willems book, appropriately makes an appearance during this tantrum scene). Piggie holds her ground, eventually explaining that she's only going to lunch. Relieved Gerald, along with a contingent of ants, joins her for a picnic, replete with colors that satisfyingly deviate from the series' limited palette. To paraphrase Gerald: This is a good book. Kirkus" When long-suffering Piggie tells his friend Gerald, "I am going," readers of the previous ten books in the series might well think: it's about time. After all, Gerald is a pretty high-maintenance friend, no matter how strong the bonds between the two might be. Here Gerald, completely in character, protests too much at Piggie's departure-for the next forty pages, twenty-six conversation balloons, and forty unique words. "You cannot go! You must not go! I WILL NOT LET YOU GO!!!" Yes, there's lots of repetition, giving youngsters plenty of practice with sight words (such as you, not, and will) along with pictures providing much context for less common, but phonetically regular, vocabulary (such as ping-pong or silly). As it turns out, and probably to no one's surprise, Piggie is only going for lunch, and the two happily picnic together. "This is a good day," concludes Gerald. It's a good day as well for beginning readers who want to make new friends or simply catch up on the antics of a couple of old ones. Horn Book" Once again, Willems shows his talent for distilling the most profound human emotions to just a few words. Gerald the elephant is exhibiting anxiety, and his issue is the fact that Piggie says, "I am going!" For young children, this fear of abandonment can surface even when a friend or caretaker leaves for a brief time. It turns out that Piggie is just planning to go get lunch, and in his typical, reassuring way, Willems shows a picnic spread at the end with the two friends enjoying the meal together, Gerald's worries having been assuaged. Fans of the series will recognize that sometimes Gerald is the in-charge character and sometimes it is Piggie; as in real life, different people show their vulnerabilities in different situations. Once again, Willems uses just two colors, showing pink Piggie marching on the front endpapers and gray Gerald hopping on the back. He uses text bubbles to indicate who is speaking and includes plenty of white space. The illustrations are hilarious while at the same time capturing the truest of feelings. Be sure to add this easy reader to your collection as an addition to the series or even as a stand-alone. SLJ"