Thursday, January 28, 2010

The World of Mo Willems

If you've got little ones running around your house then you should be familiar with the wonderful books of author and illustrator Mo Willems. He has a few series of books out at the the moment - my kids can't get enough of them. Probably his most famous creation to date is The Pigeon. He's a wise-cracking, very silly guy who thinks he knows what he wants but doesn't always know how to get it. To date, there are four main Pigeon books: Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!, and The Pigeon Wants a Puppy. There are also two smaller board books: The Pigeon Loves Things That Go! and The Pigeon Has Feelings Too! Each of the stories is told using only pictures and comic strip style word balloons. The illustrations are simple yet colored with a nifty pallet of colors that is captivating and soothing! (Ya like that!?) My kids crack up everytime we read one of the books. They got three of the books from Santa and each one of them has been read at least once, every day since Christmas. My 6 year-old son can read them on his own too, and the boys have been caught having a brotherly moment snuggled up together in a chair in their room reading the book together.

The in-house popularity of the Pigeon books sparked a further exploration of the Mo Willems shelf at our local library. It is there that we discovered Knuffle Bunny - the tale of a little girl's trip to the laundromat with her dad and what happens when she leaves her beloved stuffed bunny behind. Again, the book is illustrated with simple cartoon drawings but here they are set against beautiful black and white photographs of New York City. The follow-up book, Knuffle Bunny Too (which we just got at the library this week) is outstanding as well. Personally, I thought it was even better than the original. This time around Knuffle Bunny accidentally gets switched with a similar looking Knuffle Bunny at school. The story has some really nice jokes aimed at adults.

There's also a Knuffle Bunny DVD that my kids were thrilled to discover when it came in the mail from Netflix. (I told ya we became fans!) There's also a Knuffle Bunny Free on it's way in the Fall.


Another series which Mo Willems is currently involved with is Elephant & Piggie. These are simple early reader books, done much in the same style of The Pigeon, except here the heroes of the book are....you guessed it: and Elephant and a Pig. There's a handful of books in this series. We've only gotten to There Is A Bird on Your Head! but it too is alot of fun and the kids just roll around on the floor with laughter when we read it. If you're into putting on a performance while you read to your kids, this is a great book to do that with. Elephant gets quite upset when the bird and his wife lay eggs on his head. (Wouldn't you be, too?)

The books are a bit on the pricey side...a Pigeon book will set you back $15 bucks and the Elephant will cost you $9! I managed to get a good deal on three of the Pigeon books through the book club fliers that come home from the kids' schools. (Three paperback versions - all for $12.00) Of course a library is a great place to get your hands on some of these books. I hate to take money out of such a talented author's pockets but your library should be stocked with lots of works by Mo Willems. He's written a few stand alone books as well.

Be it Pigeons, Piggies, Elephant or Knuffle Bunny...you and your kids are sure to enjoy these wonderful books.

1 comment:

amy said...

I had no idea what a genius Mo Williams was when I bought Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus at the thrift store for 25 cents. We LOVE the pigeon! I'm definitely keeping my eye out for some more of his books. Thanks for the review!

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