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Friday, March 12, 2010

Are You Ready to Play Outside, written and illustrated by Mo Willems. Hyperion, H B Fenn. $9.99 ages 3 and up

"We are going to do everything today!
We are going to run!
We are going to skip!
We are going to jump!"

There are so many things that friends can do together and Piggie is ready to do them all with her best friend, Gerald. Preparation is the key! But, how do you prepare for a downpour and what do you when rain threatens to spoil all of your best-laid plans?

As the skies open and the rain pours down, Piggie becomes disgruntled, angry and finally frantic. She wants the situation to right itself. Gerald to the rescue! When two tiny worms show their great delight in the joy that the rain brings, Piggie rethinks her position. Maybe rain can be fun. After all, they can still run, skip and jump. Of course, just when all seems right in their world, and as luck would have it, the clouds dry up and the rain abruptly ends. Once again, Piggie is distraught and once again, it is Gerald to her rescue!

Gerald is just the type of friend that everyone should have. He is patient, loving and endlessly helpful. Piggie is demanding, feisty, dramatic and appreciative of Gerald's thoughtfulness. Together they provide wonderful opportunities for untold enjoyment and laughter. They also are the main characters in a growing set of wonderful storybooks that will inspire young emergent readers to pick up the next one, and then the next one and finally, when they are finished reading all of them (eleven and counting), they will want to read them all over again! And you will want to read them with them. With at least two voices in each tale, they are perfect for that!

I love reading these books aloud...they are so much fun and provide wonderful opportunities for drama, shared reading and the most coveted reaction for anyone who reads with children and their parents and teachers...'can you please read it again?'

The next dozen posts are going to tell you about each of them, and a couple more. Mo Willems is inspiring young readers with books that matter. His ability to show so much emotion with small differences in the cartoon-like illustrations and to invite talk about his memorable and lovable characters and their 'messes' is inspiring and I highly recommend them as another of those gifts that will last a lifetime!

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