Reviewed November 13, 2014.
Hyperion Books for Children, New York, 2014. 57 pages.
2014 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #8 Picture Books
I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Mo Willems is a genius. His books deal in universal emotions; they teach lessons; they are funny; they are simple; they span a huge age range. Every time I read a Mo Willems book to any age of kids, I get huge laughs on every page. I've watched other parents read them to their children, and it's clear that the parents are enjoying them as much as the children are.
Even though these books are perfect for children just learning to read, they are short enough to be thoroughly enjoyed as read-alouds as well. And school age children who can read perfectly still enjoy them for the humor.
I also like them for the lessons. I've mentioned before that Are You Ready to Play Outside? is better than any sermon on contentment. And I wish Pigs Make Me Sneeze! had been published when I was teaching Statistics, because you couldn't ask for a more entertaining presentation of the truth that Correlation does not imply Causation.
And I admit -- it's for the lesson that I love this book.
You see, back in July, I applied for my dream job. I was very excited and eager. In August, I had a phone interview. In September, I had a panel interview. That was seven weeks ago. There is going to be a third round of interviews, but they have apparently not happened yet. Truly, Waiting Is Not Easy!
The story is simple. Piggie tells Gerald she has a surprise for him, but he will have to wait, because it isn't here yet. And the rest of the book is waiting for the surprise. Gerald is not patient. Three times, he lets out a GROAN! in a speech bubble so big, it knocks over Piggie (a little more each time). Gerald tries different things, but they mostly amount to telling Piggie he's tired of waiting, while Piggie waits in a peaceful yoga pose.
And yes, the surprise is worth it, even to Gerald. And no, Piggie could not possibly have speeded it up. (She actually shouldn't have told him about the surprise ahead of time, but then we wouldn't have such a great book.)
So besides a book that will set kids giggling at Gerald's over-the-top antics, what parent doesn't want their child to learn a little something about patience? I can't think of a better vehicle for talking about how hard it is to wait.
And, yes, even for me, laughing at Gerald's impatience takes the sting out of my own wait. Thank you, Mo Willems!