Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Mo Willems has to be one of my favorite children's illustrator/author. Right up there with Kevin Henkes (Lily's Purple Plastic Purse) and Jackie French (Diary of a Wombat). When I struggled a few years back to help my youngest read, and to find books that he could tackle and feel like he had accomplished a solid read while not frustrating him in the early stages, I discovered several of Willems's books---featuring the delightful characters Piggie, Elephant, and Pigeon---and Chimo laughed and laughed. He soon began harder books, and now in fifth grade he is being slated for advanced English (which delights me to no end). He just read two books based on the Odyssey. His older brother Joey took to reading much easier (probably because I had more time off to read with him when he was younger, before I had to take two jobs), and our hours of reading such trilogies as Hunger Games and Maze Runner, propelled him to other challenging books. Not so with Chimo (yet, though he has really made advances this year). Still, because of the early Willems books, even now I delight in picking up one of his new volumes and chuckle as I read it. Pigeon is so frustrated and put upon, and Piggie and Elephant struggle to realize how much they really are friends. Amazingly Willems's cartoon figures are not very complicated, but he manages to wring a startingly varied range of emotions from the drawings nonetheless. Don't Let Pigeon Drive the Bus had both of us in stitches. I hear now that he has added another character, a small duckling, and I can't wait to get a copy at the library. His books are a wonderful treat for four-year-olds and older, and the parents will love them too.