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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Let's Go For A Drive, written and illustrated by Mo Willems. Hyperion Books for Children, Hachette. 2012. $9.99 ages 3 and up

"WAIT!
If we're going for a drive -
we need a plan!
A plan?
First, we need a map.
I have a map!
GET THAT MAP!
You cannot go for a drive
without a map!
I have the map!"

It arrived in the mail. I opened it with great expectations when I saw the return label said Hachette Book Group. I had been anticipating its arrival, and couldn't get the package open fast enough...I had almost run out of patience!  I smiled! I read it once....then, I read it again! I laughed out loud, and then I smiled. Now, I want to share it with anyone willing to listen.

I love Elephant and Piggie! I never get tired of welcoming them into my home and my heart. They are friends, in the truest sense of the word. They inspire young children to want to be readers. I don't know what reading level they are, and I could care less. If kids were reading these books to encourage their literacy, we would have children who become lifelong readers. Isn't that what we want from books, and for our kids? There are 18 books about the the two now! Spend less than $200 and you have a library that will outlast any computer game or new toy...they will be reading them when they are in eighth grade....because they love them. I read them in adult workshops all the time. There is always laughter and great enjoyment. Why not that for our children? Thank you, Mo Willems!

In their newest adventure, and before we get to the story, a look at the endpapers show the two friends using their driving skills to pilot a race car, a bus, a coupe, a semi and a farm truck. They are exuberant with the freedom! It's Elephant who has the idea...a drive!

It inspires great glee:

"That sounds fun!
Drive! Drive!
Drivey-drive-
drive!"

It is also Elephant who realizes that they need a plan. Piggie has a map...and sunglasses...and umbrellas...and bags...then, there's just one more thing. Not possible, there is no car! That doesn't stop them. If you know Piggie and Elephant, you will not be surprised!

The speech bubbles are color-coded to encourage drama and shared reading. The facial expressions, the inviting language play, the silliness of the dialogue, the endpapers and the absolute joy that the two friends take in being together make this book are a perfect addition to a brilliant collection. Fans will burst forth in the repeated refrains and will be easily encouraged to think of other items that might be needed if the pair were to go for a drive. The joy is endless!

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