Mylinh's Reviews > We are in a Book!

We are in a Book! by Mo Willems
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's review
Nov 20, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: picture-books, childrens, print-awareness, print-motivation, preschool-kindergarten, toddlers

** spoiler alert ** We Are in a Book! An Elephant and Piggie Book by Mo Willems is a fantastic example of print awareness (and motivation). I was introduced to it in the Children's materials and services class by Marcie Haloin. In the book, Gerald (the elephant) and Piggie discover that someone is looking at them. It's not a monster... it's a reader! They realize that the reader is reading their word bubbles and they can make the reader say a word... banana! When Piggie peeks and checks on what page the book ends, Gerald gets upset because he has so much more to share. Ultimately, they decide to ask the reader to read the book again when the book is over.
The book is simply illustrated with only having the two characters and their text bubbles shown. Gerald's speech is always in a grey word bubble and Piggie's speech is always in pink. Children will be able to make the connection between the print on the page, the words being read, and how the text connects to the actions the characters are doing (especially when they have to say.... Banana). Other print awareness aspects that are demonstrated are page numbers and the end of a story... as well as being able to go back and read it again.
All of the Elephant and Piggie books are illustrated in the same manner and are really fun to read, just not as meta as We Are in a Book! Because this book is a part of a series, it's also great for print motivation. As children become familiar with the Elephant and Piggie books, they may want to read more of them. Mo Willem's other series, Knuffle Bunny and Pigeon, would be great to introduce to kids after reading these books as well. Almost all of Mo Willem's books involve word bubbles, which is an easy way for children to associate text with what the character is saying.
An activity that could go along with reading this book is to have some characters (could be Elephant and Piggie or just pictures cut out from a magazine) on a dry erase board. Children could then come up with small phrases for each character to say and the librarian could write them up in word bubbles over the characters heads.

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