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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A Big Guy Took My Ball, written and illustrated by Mo Willems. Hyperion Books for Children, Hachette. 2013. $9.99 ages 2 and up


I found a big ball,
and it was so fun!

And then a big guy came -
and -
and -
and -

Wahoo! A new Elephant and Piggie adventure...sure to please and to teach us what true friendship is all about!

Poor Piggie...she has a ball she loves and it is soon scooped away from her. Who does she turn to? Gerald, of course. He is always there for her, and he seems to have the perfect solution to any problem she might face.

Gerald cannot believe what has happened...he is appalled. He will soon put the situation to rights. Big guys think they can do whatever they like to do, and Gerald is out to prove this particular big guy wrong on all counts. Off he stalks to make sure that what has happened to his friend will NOT happen again.

The problem is that this guy is 'very BIG'! He's a whale! And he is not at all what Gerald has in mind as the creator of Piggie's problem. In fact, the whale is quick to offer his thanks to the pig for sharing her ball, albeit very small for him. He is a sad sack because no one wants to play with big guys like him. He is quite sure that it is the little guy that has the most fun, and he is heartbroken over it that observation.

As happens with these tales of friendship, Mo Willems offers his young readers clues for how the book should be read. In this case, the whale speaks in upper case letters allowing for his very big voice, to accompany his extremely big persona. His illustrations offer every emotion felt by each of his characters. Speech balloons, differing fonts, expressive characters add to the charm and ensure that these beloved personalities will find pride of place on any home or school bookshelf. The pigeon continues to keep an eye on the action. Fervent fans will be thrilled to find him along for the ride, as he has been for every one of the nineteen tales.

Bravo Mo Willems! Please keep them coming!

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