The Elephant and Piggie series, by Mo Williams, is one that no matter how many times you read these books to your children they will giggle and giggle and finally have a good laugh. The main characters Gerald, the elephant, and Piggie, the pig, are funny, lovable, and yet are extremely different. These cartoon characters are drawn in a simple manner, but it allows the child to focus on elephant and piggies changing expressions, feelings. Elephant’s expressions are quite funny. In a lot of ways these two friends adventures remind me a little of Charlie Brown and Lucy, and Frog and Toad. One of Mo Williams goals is for his stories to come off the page and be real. I feel that he accomplishes that with this series.
There is a Bird on Your Head, and Are You Ready to Play Outside, have both been awarded the Geisel medal. Today I Will Fly and Elephants Cannot Dance, have been listed on the Time’s Top Children’s Book List. I Am Going, was published in Jan. 2010, and this is another of my favorites. This series would make an excellent choice for any child ages 3-8, especially for the beginning reader or the struggling reader.
The stories are written in a color coded bubble type conversation format which begs to be read as a play or acted out. You can read the story by different people reading either Elephant or Piggie’s conversation. When reading be sure to change your voice and add lots of expression. You could also make easy puppets. Have the children draw a pictures of Elephant and Piggie and then
tape the pictures to a stick, or paper towel tube. Read using the puppets. Finally, act out the story. You might even want to make simple masks for Elephant and Piggie.
The bubbles make it an excellent way to introduce narratives for the beginning writer. Place sticky notes over the bubbles. Select a character and together talk about
how Elephant and Piggie’s conversation could change, and then together make your own bubble story. Enjoy reading your new story!!