The Marvelous Mo Willems

Posted by Kathy Lappin on 1/4/2016

As an educator, it is my job to know children's books and as a parent I see how valuable that information is in my life. I do not have to wander around the library wondering what is a good book or author to read. In fact, I have quite a list of favorites. Parents are often times encouraged to read to and with their children, but what to read can be daunting. I decided to tell our CM families some insider information from the literary world. So please come back to this section often to find out some great books to read. 

My first recommendation is an author - Mo Willems. Mo Willems is an amazing writer. He really seems to get it when it comes to writing for children. He has several series of books that are all at the top of my favorite books list. The first is called the "Pigeon Series." The first in the series is entitled, "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus." The main character, a pigeon, pleads with the reader to please let him drive the bus. Children love the way the pigeon is talking directly to them and parents are sure to compare the way the pigeon begs to that of their own children. My own kids have asked me to read this and the rest of the books in this series many times! The series includes:

The Pigeon Needs a Bath

The Duckling Gets a Cookie

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy

Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late

The Pigeon Finds a Hotdog

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

The Pigeon has Feelings, Too


If Mo Willems only wrote the Pigeon series he would be highly celebrated, but he has two other award-winning series of books. The trilogy of the Knuffle Bunny are three outstanding books about a little girl named Trixie and her prized possession - a stuffed bunny named Knuffle Bunny. And then there is the Elephant and Piggie series. I just cannot say enough about how great Gerald and Piggie books are. Gerald the Elephant and Piggie are best friends. Gerald is a boy and Piggie is a girl. The style of the series is conversational, in that it is written in comic book, word bubbles back and forth as the characters chat and have adventures together. The stories are sweet and funny and touching and at times super silly. They basically sum up what it is like to be a child. If I have to pick a quick book to read to a group of children, I pull an Elephant and Piggie book. If a new mom asks me for a book recommendation, I offer Elephant and Piggie as a sure winner. If my own children want just one more bedtime story, I will usually grab - you guessed it, a Gerald and Piggie book. They are not too long, they are all fun books to read, and children love to hear them over and over again. Another great aspect of this series is the fact that there are 24 and soon to be 25 books in this series so far. The titles are :

  • 1 Today I Will Fly! (Mar 2007)

  • 2 My Friend is Sad (Mar 2007)

  • 3 There Is a Bird on Your Head! (Jul 2007)

  • 4 I Am Invited to a Party! (Jul 2007)

  • 5 I Love My New Toy! (Jun 2008)

  • 6 I Will Surprise My Friend! (Jun 2008)

  • 7 Are You Ready To Play Outside? (Oct 2008)

  • 8 Watch Me Throw The Ball! (Mar 2009)

  • 9 Elephants Cannot Dance! (Jun 2009)

  • 10 Pigs Make Me Sneeze! (Oct 2009)

  • 11 I am Going! (Jan 2010)

  • 12 Can I Play Too? (Jun 2010)

  • 13 We Are In A Book! (Sept 2010)

  • 14 I Broke My Trunk! (Feb 2011)

  • 15 Should I Share My Ice Cream? (June 2011)

  • 16 Happy Pig Day! (Oct 2011)

  • 17 Listen To My Trumpet (Feb 2012)

  • 18 Let's Go for a Drive! (Oct 2012)

  • 19 A Big Guy Took My Ball (May 2013)

  • 20 I'm a Frog! (Oct 2013)

  • 21 My New Friend Is So Fun (June 2014)

  • 22 Waiting Is Not Easy! (November 2014)

  • 23 I Will Take a Nap! (June 2015)

  • 24 I Really Like Slop! (October 2015)

  • 25 The Thank You Book (May 2016)

I definitely have favorites in this series. I recommend starting with Should I Share My Ice Cream. It is very entertaining. I also love Can I play Too?, I think it has a great message along with being fun to read. 

Please read with your child every single day. I know that life is hectic. There are nights when I feel too tired to read a bedtime story, but children love being read to and it is really good for them. It is the one thing kids love that is actually healthy. Mo Willems books are great family stories to read over and over again.