Synopses & Reviews
Mo Willems continues his best-selling Elephant and Piggie first reader series.
The books feature two lovable and funny characters: an optimistic (and sometimes reckless) pig and a cautious, pessimistic elephant. Children who sat on their parents" laps to have Pigeon read to them will eagerly take the plunge with these books to start reading on their own. Each book has been vetted by an early learning specialist. These sweet and surprising stories are a much-needed breath of fresh air in the early reader arena.
In I Will Surprise My Friend!, Gerald and Piggie want to play a game and surprise each other'"but the biggest surprise is the one they least expect.
Emergent readers (and their grown-ups) will celebrate the publication of the fifth and sixth volumes of the Elephant and Piggie series, stories of friendship and good intentions told entirely through easy-to-read speech bubbles. The newest episodes are fresh, fun and filled with the everyday dramas of friendship. In I Will Surprise My Friend! Gerald the Elephant and Piggie try to sneak up on each other, using a large rock as concealment. Willems's animation background has never been more evident as when Gerald and Piggie wait, look and think. Like many a classic I Love Lucy episode, this climaxes with a hilarious "AAAAAGGHH!!!" Similar misunderstandings plague these friends in the also-stellar I Love My New Toy (
BFFs Gerald and Piggie (I Am Invited to a Party! and There Is a Bird on Your Head!, rev. 1/08) are back in their fifth and sixth easy-reader episodes. The pair's friendship is put to the test in My New Toy when elephant Gerald accidentally breaks Piggie's prized possession. Their spat follows a familiar arc: anger and sadness, tears and regret; all ends well, thanks to a squirrel's intervention, and the two conclude: "Friends are more fun than toys." In the companion volume, Piggie and Gerald watch as a squirrel surprises an unsuspecting pal; it looks like fun, so they give it a go. The game doesn't work too well, however, if both players lie in wait for each other. While Gerald panics-"Where is Piggie?...Maybe a giant bird...flew off with her!"-Piggie gets sidetracked ("I am hungry for lunch"); their silly overreactions are classic-cartoon funny. The simple speech-balloon text uses a fair amount of repetition to encourage new readers, and Willems skillfully conveys mood and tone through type size and his characters' expressive body language. This series' broadly sketched, satisfying dramas are just right for readers beginning to venture out on their own.--Horn Book
In classic Willems style, the characters' expressions and body language carry both stories, with the deceptively simple line art saying far more than the slight, though whimsical, texts. When Gerald accidentally breaks Piggie's new toy, he is by turns ashamed, chagrined, and apologetic. Piggie is mad, sad, and finally embarrassed (a squirrel shows them that the "broken toy" is of the "break-and-snap" variety). The pals then decide that playing together is more fun than playing with a toy anyway. In the second title, the two watch a squirrel surprise a friend by jumping out from behind a rock. Mischievous Gerald and Piggie then plan together how to "surprise" one another in the same way. They sit behind opposite sides of a large stone and wait to be surprised. And wait. And wait. And worry. Savvy readers will know exactly what happens when each friend thinks that the other has left. These masterful mini-dramas will delight and amuse easy-reader and picture-book audiences, alike.--SLJ
Squirrel plays a big role in Elephant and Piggie's next adventure, I Will Surprise My Friend. He surprises his friend by hiding behind a tiny rock and yelling, "Boo!" The squirrels have such fun that Elephant and Piggie decide to try it too, but alas, surprising each other, when both know a surprise is coming, isn't that easy. As always in this series, the combination of simple text and mischievous art will satisfy beginning readers and leave them eager to polish their skills and move toward more challenging books.--Booklist
Gerald and Piggie want to play a game and surprise each other, but the biggest surprise is the one they least expect. Full color.
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 I Will Surprise My Friend!, Gerald and Piggie want to play a game and surprise each other-but the biggest surprise is the one they least expect.
About the Author
Mo Willems is the author of groundbreaking picture books, including; Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale
(Caldecott Honor winner 2004); Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
(Caldecott Honor winner 2003); Don't Let the Pigeon Stay up Late!; The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!
; Time to Say "Please"!
; Leonardo, the Terrible Monster
; Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn't Know She Was Extinct.
He also wrote Today I will Fly!, My Friend Is Sad
, There Is a Bird on Your Head,
and I Am Invited to a Party!,
the first books in this series.
In his previous life, Mo was a six-time Emmy Award winning writer and animator for Sesame Street and the creator of Cartoon Network's Sheep in the Big City. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.
same as above