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We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) Hardcover – September 14, 2010
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From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2–Make room for another satisfying episode in the escapades of lovable Elephant (aka Gerald) and Piggie. This time the best buddies star in a witty metafictional romp replete with visual gags, such as Piggie hanging from a speech bubble and Elephant blocking the author's name on the title page. Willems revs up the fun when the friends realize that someone is watching. Who can it be? Cautious Gerald asks, “A monster?” while savvy Piggie answers, “No. It is...a reader! A reader is reading us!” Mirth ensues as the delightful creatures comprehend a newfound power: “If the reader reads out loud,” they can make the reader say words. Piggie decides upon “Banana” and Gerald's sidesplitting laughter proves contagious for all involved. But, when Gerald learns that books end, with Piggie demonstrating by turning the bottom corner of the page to see how many are left, he shouts, “This book is going too fast! I have more to give!” Not to worry–the ever-resourceful Piggie has Gerald ask, “Will you please read us again?” Beginning readers will grant Gerald's request, while grown-ups will marvel at Willems's extraordinary ability to animate his personality-packed gray and pink characters with the widest range of emotions, all drawn with the simplest of line.–Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schoolsα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In their latest pairing, Elephant and Piggie are finally ready to get meta. Realizing that their trademark blank background is, in fact, a page, the duo has a blast convincing the reader to say funny things out loud—until Piggie mentions that the book will soon end. Cue Elephant’s existential crisis: “WHEN WILL THE BOOK END!?!” From there on, it’s a cute—but never too heady—play on the physical object that the reader is holding, including a bit where Piggie appears to flip the pages forward to get a sense of how much time they have left. Willems’ satisfying (if self-serving) solution? Read it again! Preschool-Grade 2. --Daniel Kraus
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** This review was written by my First Grade class. They love these books!
The illustrations alone make this one worth it for me. Seemingly simple, there's enough depth of emotion in the little details that you'll see something new for at least the first 20 times you read it. I recommend attention to Piggie's eyebrows; they are hilarious little guys.
This book is also quite engaging for kids. There are several places where Elephant and Piggie address their audience directly. My teeny listeners looove that part.
I'm working on buying every Mo Willems book out there. I have nine nieces and nephews, and I'm pretty sure that number will only grow. There are a lot of years of reading aloud ahead of me. While I love that they love being read to, I'm going to need the good stuff to go the distance. Mo Willems always delvers.
The one problem? I can't get through it with the little ones without completely cracking up. It's that good. Mo Willems is a once-in-a-generation genius at conveying (hilarious) emotion dead-on with shockingly simple drawings. Each page has that kind of subtle joke that keeps Mom and Dad entertained easily as much as the kids. The best one? Elephant's existential angst at realizing the book does indeed have an end; his anguished cry, "I have MORE to GIVE!" is generally where I lose it and require a moment in in order to carry on. Let's not ruin the fun by discussing how awesome it is to allow the children to consider the technicalities of how books work (pulling up the corner to see which page number is the last? awesome) or experience the flipping of perspective and awareness.
Go ahead and order this. It's one of the books that would come with us to a desert island. Happy reading!