Review posted October 13, 2008.
Hyperion Books for Children, New York, 2008. 57 pages.
Sonderbooks Stand-out 2008: #8 Picture Books
Oh, I do love Mo Willems' books! I Will Surprise My Friend! is another easy reader about two friends, Elephant (named Gerald) and Piggie. As with the Pigeon books, Mo Willems manages to convey all kinds of emotions with simple line drawings. Adding a raised eyebrow here and a pointed toe there tell the readers exactly what the characters are feeling.
I'd like to try this book in a storytime, but it's particularly suited for a child learning to read. There are a few words on each page, and the pictures will give the child delight at deciphering exactly what is happening, and they will find it tremendous fun.
To start out, Gerald and Piggie see a squirrel hide behind a rock and surprise his friend. The two squirrels are delighted. This gives Gerald a great idea -- they can surprise each other at the big rock.
Gerald and Piggie are both fully engaged in the fun of the planned surprise. But when two people are both hiding, who's around to get surprised? There's plenty of visual humor in this story, and of course the fun of seeing behind the scenes when both friends get surprised in a way they didn't expect.
Hmm. Describing it takes more words than are in the book! I want to find a beginning reader to read this story to me.