PreS-Gr 1-Once again Willems observes truths about human behavior through the eyes of Gerald, an elephant, and Piggie. The premise this time is that Piggie's recently acquired ball has been snatched by some unknown creature, one so big that Piggie begs Gerald to intervene. But Gerald's perceived power and genuine desire to help his smaller friend cannot provide him with sufficient courage once he sees that he'll have to confront an enormous whale. Outward appearance is rarely a true indicator of inner feelings, though, and the same reality is reflected in the whale, who turns out to be a gentle giant who is remarkably polite. Size must never be a factor in determining friendship, and Willems's two pals are happy to have a new playmate. The story engages readers with delightfully familiar cartoon illustrations and invites them to follow it independently by reading the speech bubbles. This title is a superb addition to the series; it's particularly useful for discussions of outside and inside traits, in addition to the tricky topic of threesomes.-Gloria Koster, West School, New Canaan, CTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
It’s imaginable that Willems’ flagship Elephant & Piggie series might go on eternally, and it’s also imaginable that everyone would be okay with that. In this pleasing go-round, Piggie is aflutter after a traumatic incident. After Piggie found a “big ball,” a “big guy came” (cue teary-eyed stammering) “and—and—and—HE TOOK MY BALL!” This doesn’t take a seat right with Gerald, who is soon shaking his gray fist in indignance. He stomps off to confront the thief, only to find that, well, “He is very BIG.” (Picture the word BIG taking up half the page.) This can be a blue whale that towers over our dynamic duo—pretty terrifying stuff until the whale gives readers a lesson on size: it’s all relative. If we’re quibbling, there’s some standing in place going on here as Gerald hems and haws over not getting back the big ball (or “little ball” as its known to the whale). But, as at all times, Willems’ staging of his characters and text across the white background is a master class in economy. Further classes forthcoming? Count on it. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Is it time yet to add a second Elephant & Piggie shelf in your library? Preschool-Grade 2. --Daniel Kraus
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Gerald is careful. Piggie isn't.Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.Gerald and Piggie are best friends.In A Big Guy Took My Ball! Piggie is devastated when a big guy takes her ball! Gerald is big, too...but is he big enough to help his best friend?