Elephant and Piggie: Elephants Cannot Dance!
What You Need to Know:|
• This is a brilliantly conceived new learn to read series by the author of the Pigeon books (Don't Let the Pigeon Drive
• Willem's deft illustrations, the way they convey exactly what the character is feeling without need for words, really,
are nothing short of genius.
• Your young reader should be able to read it by themselves after only a few shared readings, the picture clues and
vocabulary choice and repetition are that good.
• Elephants Cannot Dance! imparts a simple and clear message about non-conformity and the power of individuality
that your pre-schooler will understand and "get" easily.
• This book has been nomintated for a 2009 Cybil Award. Please click the Cybils link on the left side of the page to
learn more about the Children's and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards (Cybils).
• For all those pigeons fans out there, check out the endpapers (the inside, back cover of the books).
Sweet Series Background:|
Elephants Cannot Dance! is the lastest (as of summer 2009) addition in the new learn-to-read series by Mo Willems. Think of it in the same vein as a Dr. Seuss book, similar in size and feel, with a bit less text than the longer-winded Seuss books. In the Elephant and Piggie books, Willems effortlessly combines elements required for this learning to read genre, like word repetition and sight word inclusion, with comedy, terrific illustrations and a great story-line. The last is what makes this series so special. So many of the learn to read books are dreadfully boring, because it is hard to repeat words, keep the vocabulary simple, all the while creating a great story. Willems does it effortlessly with Piggie and Elephant.
The main characters are a little, optimisic pig named Piggie and a rather pessimistic, droll elephant named Gerald. In Elephants Cannot Dance! the usual Piggie and Elephant roles are reversed. It is usually Gerald explaining the wisdom of the world to Piggie, but this time Piggie has to teach Gerald how to dance, and doesn't fair so well. When Piggie says left, Elephant goes right. And when Piggie says up, Elephant goes down.
Just as Piggie is deciding perhaps this is a lost cause, the cute Squirrel friends from I Will Suprise my Friend! make an appearance and ask for dancing lessons. When Piggie agrees, the squirrels explain they don't want Piggie to teach them, they want to learn the Elephant! They were watching all along and decided Gerald's original dance is more appealing. What a great message for our young children - even when it feels wrong it may be right. And Willlems' again does it in his seemingly effortless, simple, and entertaining way.
2009, 64 pages
Friendship, Animals, Humor, Excellent Read-Aloud, Individuality