It’s been almost two months since I’ve done a Bookworms post, so I thought I’d change it up a little and focus on a particular author to try and get back into the groove.
Mo Willems is a big time favorite in our house. His drawings are fun and simple and his stories make the girls roar with laughter. I love that the stories are simple enough for toddlers to follow, yet older kids are still completely amused by them. It means I can round up both of my ladies and have them entertained by a single book. This does not happen often with other authors.
There isn’t a Mo Willems book that we dislike, but here are some of our favorites:
The Pigeon series
All of the books center around a pigeon who is a little bit demanding and dramatic and not at all unlike a kid who is trying desperately to get his or her way—which is probably why they get such a huge kick out of them. Pigeon is very emotional and theatrical and the kids can totally relate to him.
When they get a little bit older, the kids can enjoy new facets of the story. Sam told me that what she likes about the stories is the pigeon’s tireless effort. “It’s always ‘Don’t let the pigeon do this, don’t let the pigeon do that,'” she said. “I like how he always begs you to let him, even though you’re never gonna.” Hmmmm… sounds like she’s been taking some lessons from the pigeon.
The Knuffle Bunny series
This is another series that we never tire of. It’s great because they stand alone as great books, but when you put them all together, you can see how Trixie, the girl in the stories, grows up.
In Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale she’s a baby and can’t even talk but you learn how much she loves her stuffed bunny when she loses it and takes her dad on a wild goose chase through the city in search of it. In Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity, Trixie brings her very special, very unique bunny to school to show off to her friends only to find out that another girl in her class has the same one. The teacher takes the bunnies away and in the middle of the night Trixie realizes that she’s got the wrong bunny—sending her dad out on another wild chase.
The last book in the series, Knuffle Bunny Free: An Unexpected Diversion, made me cry in the middle of Barnes and Noble while I was pregnant and hormonal and I’ve refused to read it again since. It’s incredibly sweet and involves losing the bunny again, but this ending has a twist. Make sure you have your tissues ready—especially if you’re housing a fetus.
The Elephant and Piggie series
Another fabulous series, the Elephant and Piggie books all center around two friends that couldn’t be any more different. Gerald is very cautious and serious. Piggie is wild and gets into all sorts of trouble. Still, they love each other dearly and always look out for each other in the end—kind of like my girls.
Like Mo Willems’ other series, these books are funny but also really, really sweet. They are definitely some of my all-time favorite children’s books.
Sam’s take? “I like that it’s always something that will end with the same thing just a little different.”
Alright, let me step away from the series now and talk about a couple of his other books. This one might just be Sam’s favorite. It’s about a sly-looking (and hungry!) fox and a very sweet, harmless-looking, plump goose. Playing off of silent movies and throwing in a hilarious twist, this one never fails to make the kids laugh.
Spoiler alert: Sam’s says “It’s funny because it makes you think that the chicks are telling their mother that it’s not a good idea, but they’re really telling the fox that it’s not a good idea!”
I’m a huge fan of retold classics—as long as they’re done right, of course. And this one definitely is. I mean, it’s so clever I might have even liked this one better than the kids did.
So, obviously, this retelling is different in that the bears are dinosaurs (oh and the little one is isn’t their child but “some other Dinosaur who happened to be visiting from Norway.”). But it’s also different in that the dinosaurs may or may not be trying to entrap some “innocent little succulent child.” Seriously, if you haven’t read this one or you’re not that well-versed in Mo Willems books run to the store or library or wherever you find your books and read it. You won’t be sorry.