Synopses & Reviews
"Score another one for Lester and Munsinger."and#160; and#8212;Publishers Weekly and#160; The sloths at Sleepy Valley Sloth School are content in their slothfulness. One day, a new sloth arrives, a go-getter, a mover and a shakerand#8212;which is to say she actually moves. The other slothsand#160;think sheand#8217;s a pest, and she thinks theyand#8217;re bores, that is until a real boar arrivesand#8212;an official representative of S.O.S. (Society for Organizing Sameness) sent to close the school. Something has to be done, and all eyes turn to Sparky . . . and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; This new addition to the Laugh-Along Lessons series focuses on the importance of being true to yourself. Includes a parent/teacher discussion guide andand#160;downloadable audio!
An amusing, if decidedly sleepy, tale of sloths and the very relaxing atmosphere of their school-an institution thrown in jeporady by a bureaucrat of conventional stripe-from the hand-and-glove team behind Tacky the Penguin and Wodney Wat. Sleepy Valley Sloth School lives up to its name: nobody here but drowsy sloths. They snooze through their lessons-so do their teachers-through their recess, through their study hall. They sleep "until six o'clock when the custodian swept them out, and they rolled home.". . . One day a disruptive influence makes the scene: ayoung fireplug of a sloth named Sparky, who tries to light some fire under her classmates. . . "'What a bunch of bores.'" she signs. Then a real boar pushes through the door, an operative from the Society for Organizing Sameness, come to close the school for failing in all subjects. Sparky saves the school by dazzling the organization man with feats of reading, music, math, and poetry. Who says sloths are underachievers? They're being sloths, and just how many creatures have had their name elevated to a common adjective? Only Munsinger could so perfectly catch them in all their languid glory, from the opening page when they are quite literally "just hanging around" as loose-limbed and zonked-out as anything ever seen, to as nearly awake as a sloth can get while piled up in a heap trying to pay attention. And the belly laughs induced by Lester's words will Kirkus Reviews with Pointers
"Score another one for Lester and Munsinger, Readers will hope the sloths return for a rematch." and#151;Publishers Weekly Publishers Weekly
"Lesterand#8217;s laid-back text is packed with silly puns, and Munsingerand#8217;s hilariously detailed line-and-watercolor pictures express the delicious relaxation of Sleepy Valley Sloth School, where everyone, teachers and kids, literally hangs around." Booklist, ALA
Gerald the elephant and Piggie return with another playground psychodrama, this one with a twist. Piggie just loved the big ball she just found-"it was so fun!"-but the fun was short-lived, as the titular "big guy came-and-and-and- / HE TOOK MY BALL!" Piggie's distress is so great Gerald is literally bowled over. "That is not right!" he declares. "What makes those big guys think they are so big?!" "Their size?" suggests Piggie. Gerald stalks off the page to give the big guy what-for, but the big guy is "very BIG." In fact, the big guy is a land-going whale, who first thanks Piggie for finding his "little ball" and then laments that no one will play with him because of his extreme size: "LITTLE GUYS HAVE ALL THE FUN." (The whale speaks in all-uppercase letters, though the font changes with his mood; the previous sentence is printed in tiny, all-capped type.) This morality play in false assumptions and relativity unfurls with Willems' customary command of visual pacing; gags are spaced just right to keep the pages turning and readers giggling. His deft exploitation of comic-book conventions sets speech balloons to overlapping and appropriately varying in size. Nineteen books and five Geisel medals or honors along, Elephant and Piggie are still delivering funny, emotionally perceptive stories for just-emerging readers. As the big guy says: "BIG FUN!" (Early reader. 5-8)--Kirkus
When a big guy takes a ball Piggie found, she appeals to her much bigger friend Gerald for redress. Normally timid Gerald, stung by the injustice, is happy to mount up and ride to the rescue, but he gets more than he bargained for when the big guy turns out to be a whale, literally, who dwarfs the quickly unemboldened Gerald. Fortunately, Gerald and Piggie pool their creative talents to make room for everyone, and harmony is restored. Willems has once again found the sweet spot where humor and situational familiarity meet cognitive capacity; here he introduces perspective through a very familiar playground experience. Introducing comparatives through illustration, font size, and the introduction of the er word ending, he carves out both physical and moral space in the negotiation of the way size matters. The ball and Gerald are big to Piggie, but not to the ball's owner; being big seems to hold all the advantages to our heroes, while being small has more allure for the lonely whale. The ability to see through the eyes of someone who thinks differently than you is an essential developmental leap that's crucial for empathy, and Willems takes it even one step further in creating a game that requires the advantages of both big guys and small guys for its success. The pictures will keep 'em laughing, and the concepts will keep 'em learning, so we say, please, Mr. Willems, keep 'em coming. KC--BCCB
PreS-Gr 1 Once again Willems observes truths about human behavior through the eyes of Gerald, an elephant, and Piggie. The premise this time is that Piggie's recently acquired ball has been snatched by some unknown creature, one so big that Piggie begs Gerald to intervene. But Gerald's perceived power and genuine desire to help his smaller friend cannot provide him with sufficient courage once he sees that he'll have to confront an enormous whale. Outward appearance is rarely a true indicator of inner feelings, though, and the same reality is reflected in the whale, who turns out to be a gentle giant who is remarkably polite. Size should never be a factor in determining friendship, and Willems's two pals are happy to have a new playmate. The story engages readers with delightfully familiar cartoon illustrations and invites them to follow it independently by reading the speech bubbles. This title is a wonderful addition to the series; it's particularly useful for discussions of inside and outside traits, as well as the tricky topic of threesomes. Gloria Koster, West School, New Canaan, CT--SLJ
It's possible that Willems' flagship Elephant and Piggie series might go on forever, and it's also possible that everyone would be okay with that. In this pleasing go-round, Piggie is aflutter after a traumatic incident. After Piggie found a "big ball," a "big guy came" (cue teary-eyed stammering) "and-and-and-HE TOOK MY BALL!" This doesn't sit right with Gerald, who is soon shaking his gray fist in indignance. He stomps off to confront the thief, only to find that, well, "He is very BIG." (Picture the word BIG taking up half the page.) It is a blue whale that towers over our dynamic duo-pretty terrifying stuff until the whale gives readers a lesson on size: it's all relative. If we're quibbling, there's some standing in place going on here as Gerald hems and haws over not getting back the big ball (or "little ball" as its known to the whale). But, as always, Willems' staging of his characters and text across the white background is a master class in economy. Further classes forthcoming? Count on it. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Is it time yet to add a second Elephant and Piggie shelf in your library? - Daniel Kraus--Booklist
andquot;Like the other small gems in the endearing Gossie and Friends series, this picture book offers a satisfying combination of beauty, clarity, and simplicity.andquot;
andquot;A just plain ducky addition to this excellent picture-book series.andquot;
andquot;Dunreaand#39;s gently amusing, pleasingly repetitive stories and thoroughly beguiling illustrations continue to capture preschooler life in all its variety.andquot;
andmdash;Horn Book Magazine
Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.
Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.
Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.
Gerald and Piggie are best friends.
In A Big Guy Took My Ball! Piggie is devastated when a big guy takes her ball! Gerald is big, too...but is he big enough to help his best friend?
In Olivier Dunrea's latest Gossie and Friends tale, Gemma is the big sister and Gus is the little brother. They both like to explore and Gemma likes to be the leader. But just who is following whom? Look for the companion book, Gus.
Meet Gemma and Gus, the newest charactersand#160;in Olivier Dunreaand#8217;s irresistable Gossie and Friends series!and#160;Gemma is the big sister. Gus is the little brother. Gus is always following Gemma around, but one day Gus sets out on his own. Just who is following who?and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; and#160; Another pair of darling goslings make theirand#160;debut in this sweet story, with Olivier Dunreaand#8217;s perfectly pitched storytelling and endearingand#160;illustrations that Gossie and Friends fans have come to cherish.
Pookins always gets her way. But as she learns when she meets a magic gnome capable of granting wishes,and#160;sometimes getting your way isn't always the best way. A new addition to the Laugh-Along Lessons series with parent/teacher discussion guide andand#160;bonus audio download.
and#8220;Kids will recognize bits of themselves in Pookins . . . an amusing, hard-edged heroine.and#8221;and#160; and#8212;Booklist
Pookins always gets her way. If she doesn't, she makes faces, she throws apples, and she yells very loudly! But when Pookins finds a magic gnome who grants her three wishes, she hastily wishes to be a flower. Powerless to do anything,and#160;she realizes that her way may not be the best way, and that a bit of empathy for the gnome might set things right. This new addition to the Laugh-Along Lessons series focuses on the importance of being considerate.
Includes parent/teacher discussion guide and downloadable audio!
The sloths at Sleepy Valley Sloth School are content in their slothfulness, until a new, energetic sloth named Sparky arrives. Unafraid to be herself, she finds a way to save the sloths and their school from closure in this new addition to the Laugh-Along Lessons series with parent/teacher discussion guide andand#160;bonus audio download.
About the Author
(www.pigeonpresents.com), a number one New York Times
best-selling author and illustrator, 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
). Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
was also an inaugural inductee into the Indies Choice Picture Book Hall of Fame. And his celebrated Elephant and Piggie early reader series has been awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal on two occasions (for There Is a Bird on Your Head!
and Are You Ready to Play Outside?
) as well as three Honors (for We Are in a Book!, I Broke My Trunk!
, and Let's Go for a Drive!
Other favorites include Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed
and City Dog, Country Frog
, illustrated by Jon J Muth.