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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 31, 2011
As a special educator I run a social skills group for children with autism. The "Piggie and Elephant" series are a staple of our program because they highlight potential situations children may find themselves in and display clear, easily read emotions. The pictures are cute, colorful and the children can easily identify how a character is feeling. They are a great teaching tool for anyone trying to help young children understand emotions, empathy, cause and effect and consequences. I got them for all my friends with young children this Christmas and have been hearing rave reviews. Of all the books, this one is my students' favorite hands down. They think it's hilarious and want to hear it over and over again. I'd recommend all these books, but especially this one to parents and teachers alike!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Mo Willems, the master of simplicity, conveys the gamut of porcine and elephant emotion with eyeball placement, stance, and just a few lines to suggest motion. With those simple elements, Willems has created one of the most memorable series in little kids' books. Each book is a small little gem, enjoyable by both children and adults (although adults will enjoy Willems primarily for his wry sense of humor, and ability to elicit laughter from simple situations, and an economy of language.

Here, Piggie (full of wide-eyed enthusiasm) shows Elephant his new toy, a kind of ball and stick contraption that resembles something you'd make out of tinkertoys. As usual, the problem--not knowing what how to play with the toy--really isn't that big, unless you're an excitable youngster with a new but puzzling toy.

Elephant, without a clue, suggests it might be a flying toy, and hurls it into the air. The toy crash lands and breaks. Piggie looks out at us without speaking; his heartbreak is evident. Elephant is crestfallen, sorry about what he has done. This unhappy state of affairs is turned about by a squirrel, obviously up on his toy trends, who informs them that it's one the new snap-together toys. In other words, it's supposed to break into pieces, because you can snap them right back together again!

They both still seem puzzled, especially elephant. In fact, in a rare departure for Willems, elephant's emotions are a little obscure. I'm not sure if this was intentional ("so, how do you think the elephant feels?") or not, but the lack of clarity lasts a couple pages too long. After surviving this test of trust (elephant is truly sorry, and never leaves his friend's side), Piggie is reassured, and perhaps realizes that while (some toys) may break, a good friendship lasts much longer.

Willems captures all of this in a style that follows Poe's dictum that every element in a story should be there for a reason. Perhaps like no one else working in kids' picture books, Willems speaks directly to small kids, and bring a twinkle of recognition to adults. They're clever, knowing, and extremely funny. By the way, Willems' extraordinary talent has not gone unnoticed, his books have won two Caldecott honors, and his writing for "Sesame Street" earned him six Emmys. He's an all-time favorite, and your young toddler to kindergarten-age kid will love any and all of Willems' work.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on June 18, 2008
My son loves the whole Elephant & Piggie series. In fact, these books are what taught him to read at age 4. They are repetitive and use short, easy words. Plus, they are hilarious. My son wants to read them each night. "I Love My New Toy" was just as funny as the rest of the ones we have. Mo Willems is the best children's author out there, in my opinion. We have all of his books, and they get read repeatedly. The whole family enjoys them when they are read aloud.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2012
We *LOVE* Elephant & Piggie books in our family! So simple but convey so much emotion that kids of all ages can identify with. If you love to laugh, these books are for you. We've read every one of them, and not one is a disappointment! You just really can't go wrong with any one of these totally cute, funny books. The bonus? These books turned around a situation that was developing into a big negative and struggle.

In kindergarten, my son picked up reading with ease. By the end he was freakishly excellent at reading and testing four grades ahead of his own. Enter next in line, sister. In kindergarten, she is a regular kid and reading comes to her at the usual speed. This would be fine if she hadn't already been reading with brother super-reader, setting her expectations unreasonably high for herself. My kids and I have been reading before bed every night since they were born, and since becoming old enough, the three of us together, every night. My daughter was keenly aware of her brother's reading development as he had taken over the duties from me. As my daughter began to read, the requirement from school was for her to read at home. Her experience was quickly becoming a very negative one as she would struggle with every word, and her brother would become impatient and want to help, further frustrating her... and on it went every night. She was exhausted and frustrated by the end of 10min. I feared she would end up like me - never reading a book unless assigned in school, until her brother was born, because I read so slow and couldn't keep up with my own attn. span. I also recognized that the books for her reading level contained many words that were above her abilities, not real words (further confusing things) and frankly, above the reading level of the target audience. I remember thinking, "... if I could just find a book that had almost only words she had already learned in school..."

Enter Elephant & Piggie to our rescue! The simplicity of the words, plus their repetition meant that she could read a whole book *herself*, just like her brother, and not feel dumb, or exhausted and frustrated by the end. Whew! THAT was a close one. I'm convinced that if we didn't find the Elephant & Piggie books, to this day it would be like pulling teeth to get my daughter to read. Today she is in 4th grade and reading at her grade level and improving every day! I feel like I owe so much to Elephant & Piggie! AND - Elephant & Piggie are just plain FUNNY and sweet! THANK YOU Mo Willems, for saving us and the magic of reading together as a family! I am forever in your debt.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 10, 2009
I love the Elephant and Piggie books, and despite being hilarious and clever, they don't need to be read in any particular order.

In I Love My New Toy!, Piggie has a new toy. Elephant, of course, wants to play with Piggie's toy. He promptly breaks it. Squirrel pops up to diffuse the situation in his own blissfully ignorant way. Once again, the characters are simple and complex; most importantly, they're nuances but true to their attributes. The focus is humor, and the "lesson" is secondary and tongue-in-cheek. As always, Mo Willems' drawings mimic his story: they're remarkable simple yet nuanced and complex. This book is great, but my favorite E&P tale is still I Will Surprise My Friend!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2010
Early readers can be such a pain. They have to be easy to read, so they include a lot of very short, repetitititive sentences. I bet you can quote Dick and Jane here: See Spot. See Spot run. Run, Spot, run! Run, run, run! Short, easy to read, lots of practice with those three words... and boring as HECK. Who wants to read that more than once?

Or they do the same thing, but with rhyming: See the cat. The cat is fat. The fat cat sat. Sat on the mat. The fat cat sat on the mat. See the rat!

Ye gods. Now your kid will always be able to read -at words, but they'll read them all in a dreadful monotone, ill-suited for anything other than the phone book. Gotta indoctrinate them young to think reading is dull and boring!

Well, there is hope. Elephant and Piggie! This series does everything right.

First of all, the text is all dialog. Exciting, funny dialog with LOTS AND LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! Ever see a first grader write? EVERY! SENTENCE! NEEDS! AN! EXCLAMATION! POINT!!!! YES IT DOES! You can't help but ham it up when you read, no matter HOW much you hate reading.

And when there is repetition - as there needs to be, to help children practice - it's natural. Piggie will say something, and then Elephant will repeat it in a disbelieving way. Or Elephant will say something and Piggie will repeat it to agree with him. (Doesn't happen much in this one.)

Secondly, the pictures are active and engaging and funny and dramatic. Not much distracting detail, either. But while the pictures are so active and engaging and funny and dramatic, they provide a LITTLE bit of help to the shaky reader... but not so much that they think they can look at the picture and not bother with those troublesome words.

Thirdly, the books are just interesting. When you're learning something now, you have to do it more than once. It's good for kids to re-read the same books over and over again... and I'm sure it saves the teacher money on stocking her classroom shelves! But what child, honestly, wants to read a beginning reader again? It's boring! They read it once, are you happy? Now they want to get to the good stuff!

I promise you, kids will want to read these books over and over again. I don't know through educational experience, no... but I know through watching my own two nieces. I know through looking at adults eagerly picking up these books to read. Adults! There's just something about them.

My favorite part of this book? Has to be when Piggie thinks Gerald is rejecting her ("I do not want to play with your new toy") but really he's saying he wants to play with HER, not that TOY. Awww!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2010
This is the second book we have read in the Piggie and Elephant series. I went to Half Priced Books to find Can I Play Too? book but they did not have that one so my daughter picked this one up. In this one Piggie has a new toy but doesn't know what it does. Elephant thinks maybe it's a throwing toy and it ends up breaking when it lands. While they are crying Squirrel comes by and mentions that it's a break and snap toy that you can pull apart and put together again.

While my daughter was not as fanatic about reading this one as she was Can I Play Too? she still enjoys it and we have been reading it pretty much every day since we bought it. I have to admit of the three other Mo Willems books we looked at this wasn't the one I was expecting her to pick but it is a cute story. Mo Willems is definitely becoming one of my favorite children's books authors.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2009
Piggie is convinced. His new toy is the best ever! There's just one problem. It can't replace a friend.

Writing for early readers, Willems may use simple vocabulary and sentence structure. But do not underestimate. His words and illustrated facial expressions enable young children to understand complicated human emotions, those big old things that are impossible to grasp: excitement, pride, curiosity, guilt, anger, sorrow, indignation, humility, friendship, and the sense of humanity. I LOVE MY NEW TOY! is brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2015
My husband, my daughter (just turned two years old), and I absolutely LOVE the Elephant and Piggie books. They are our all time favorite set, and we read them every single night before bed time.

If you are not familiar with the Elephant and Piggie books, here is what you need to know.
1.) Gerald (the elephant) is a boy and Piggie is a girl. They are both hilarious, and you and your child will grow to love them.
2.) The text is in speech bubbles throughout all the stories. These are easy reads, with few difficult vocabulary words for even the youngest readers. These are only a few words on most pages. I highly recommend previewing one or more books before purchasing.
3.) They are funny. Most books have a clever twist at the end that everyone gets a kick out of.
4.) They look terrific as a set. We own all of the books, and they look great lined up on our bookshelf. The book covers are very nice and sturdy. These are actually the ONLY books we've ever purchased new (all others were gifts or thrift store finds. We are penny pinchers, but these books are WORTH the dollars as they are terrific and look awesome).

If you ARE familiar with the books, here's what you need to know about THIS book.
1.) This is the ONLY book of Elephant and Piggie book that I rate four stars instead of five. The reason is simple. It's not the story, as it is quite good. In fact, it's just one page in the book. Elephant apologizes to Piggie, and Piggie's response is "I do not care!" This isn't exactly something I want my parrot of a two-year-old repeating when people apologize to her, so I purposely modify this line when I read it. Not horrible, but certainly not the positive messages that most of the Elephant and Piggie books give.
2.) The book concludes with the idea that playing with friends is more fun than playing with toys. A great message for young kids.
3.) Your child will most certainly demand a break-and-snap toy after reading this book. :)

Bottom line -
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon February 1, 2010
The Turkeybird Speaks(My son's opinion, age 3): "Give me a minute...thanks! I needed a second to compose myself. The best part about this mom, reading it to me. She's amazing! If I could get her to read it over and over for hours every day I would, because it's great. Hold on, I think I might be able to get her to read it!...

"Hahaha! That was great, I mean really! You are missing out on life if you haven't read this, because if I'm not mistaken they have studies proving that laughter helps you live longer, right? I can't stop laughing! Haha! Every time I even see this book I have to chuckle, it's so much fun. And if it couldn't get much better, it's all about a toy! Wonderful. Mo Willems is by far one of my favorite authors and illustrators. He's a genius! Go out get this book and read it to the nearest 2 to 4 year old you know, they will love you forever for it."

Mom's Two Cents: "One of my favorite things about this book, The Turkeybird's reaction. I honestly can say that very rarely do I see him light up the way he does when I read this book to him. And who doesn't appreciate that? It was a joy, yet again today when he ran into my room with this book in tow and a huge grin on his face. I'd read it once and then he'd say 'again! again!'. How could I refuse such plea's? It truly was the highlight of my day.

"I Love My New Toy! is the story of a little Piggie (insert the nearest preschool age child in your life) and her adventure getting, losing and regaining a toy and more importantly a friend. Piggie initially chooses to share her toy with her good friend Gerald, but he causes strife by breaking it...or so they think. Piggie goes through a range of emotions and eventually finds that it's better to forgive than hold a grudge. It teaches children that friends are the things to be treasured not just our possessions.

"When we purchased this for The Turkeybird it was in the hopes that it would help him with sharing. I'm not entirely sure that it's helped so far, but it has taught him some other very valuable lessons. It's helped him put names to feelings and emotions he's had. Recently he had a toy break and I think reading the book helped him understand it was okay, he had other toys and friends to play with. He still values the things he has, but I'm pretty sure it's helping him to see they aren't what is important in life.

"A great book with a great message that's also very entertaining. Perfect for reading together between you and your toddler or even a group of toddlers together could be great!"

The1stdaughter Recommends: Toddlers of any age will love being read this book. Also great for teaching children about different emotions by putting a name to them in a way they can understand. And helping them to see what is important in life.
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