There is a Bird on Your Head! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

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Review

From easy reader and chapter book series to epic fantasies, favorite characters, settings and story lines reemerge in new additions. Young readers will welcome the return of Mo Willems’s pessimistic pachyderm and spirited pig. In There Is a Bird on Your Head! Gerald the elephant despairs over a family of birds that nests atop his cranium, even as Piggie is delighted. And in I Am Invited to a Party! party expert Gerald helps Piggie prepare for all possibilities, as they get dressed for a fancy party, pool party and costume party-all at the same time. PW”

It helps to have a best friend when you run into trouble, whether it’s the what-to-wear-to-a-party kind or the wildlife-on-your-head variety. Like the first two entries in this beginning reader series (My Friend Is Sad and Today I Will Fly!, rev. 5/07), each of these books features a simple story told entirely through speech balloons and Willems’s emotive pig and elephant characters. The animated illustrations will help new readers decode tone and meaning even as the spare dialogue enhances the pictures’ slapstick humor. High-spirited Piggie has never been to a party; when she receives her first invitation, neurotic Gerald takes charge of their attire. “I know parties,” he claims, but Piggie and young readers may have doubts about that when Gerald insists they dress for “a fancy pool costume party.” In any case, Gerald proves to be savvier than he and Piggie look. In the second book, two “love birds” make a nest on Gerald’s head. Cause enough for panic, but when their three eggs hatch (in record gestation time), hysteria ensues. Luckily, Piggie has a good head on her shoulders. The minimalism of both the text and the uncluttered pictures focuses readers’ attention and moves the stories forward. Party on, Elephant & Piggie! Horn Book”

Beginning readers familiar with Willems’s books will recognize his distinctive humor and illustrative style in these stories. When Piggie receives her first invitation to a party, she asks Gerald to sign up for her and relies on his advice because he “knows” parties in order to prepare for the big event. The elephant, then again, has a tendency to overanalyze, so he prepares them both for any contingency a fancy/pool/costume party. Piggie’s expressive features show her questions about their attire, but the friends set off bedecked in flippers, masks, top hat, pearl earrings, cowboy hat, and evening dress. Consider her surprise when they find all the other guests as lavishly overdressed as they are. In the second title, Gerald learns that there are worse things than a bird on your head, namely, two love birds, a nest, and three hatchlings. With the help of Piggie, he is in the end able to ask them to move, but, as the final page reveals, they have become her problem. Both books use speech bubbles gray ones for Gerald, pink for Piggie to tell the entire story. This feature is a nice touch that facilitates paired/choral readings. The conversation between the friends flows smoothly and allows beginning readers to practice expression as they read. These appealing titles will tickle the funny bones of children and are sure to become favorites. SLJ”

About the Author

Mo Willems is the writer of groundbreaking picture books, including; Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (Caldecott Honor winner 2004); Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (Caldecott Honor winner 2003); Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay up Late!; The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!; Time to Say “Please”!; Leonardo, the Terrible Monster; Edwina, the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct. He also wrote Today I will be able to Fly! and My Friend Is Sad, the first books in this series.
In his previous life, Mo was a six-time Emmy Award?winning author and animator for Sesame Street and the author of Cartoon Network’s Sheep in the Big City. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York.

same as above

Gerald is careful. Piggie is not.Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can.Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to.Gerald and Piggie are best friends.In There Is a Bird On My Head!, Gerald discovers that there’s something worse than a bird on your head-two birds on your head! Can Piggie help her best friend?

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