I am seriously behind on my reviews, have a ton of stuff I read over the holidays to post about, but I'm going to procrastinate a little longer because I have to post about the new books I just bought at Kidsbooks' annual sale (every year in January, like a little extra dose of Christmas, just when you thought it was all over!)
I was familiar with Mo Willem from the Pigeon and the Knuffle Bunny picture books, classics all, but my sister introduced me to his Elephant and Piggie early reader books. They are so funny! Funny up there with Captain Underpants, which if you know me you'll know means they are sidesplittingly hilarious in all kinds of brilliant ways. Just look at the facial expressions on Gerald the elephant and his friend Piggie: such simple line drawings convey so much emotion. And I bet you can't look at these pages without your lips starting to twitch:
Willems plays with absurdity, with character, with the fourth wall (the one between the audience and the stage), with convention, with imagination, with moral choices (Should I Share My Ice Cream? The answer is yes, but not for the reasons you might expect). And he respects children. Kids get irony, probably better than us stultified adults. These books are quintessentially silly, but they're the farthest thing from dumb.
Elephant and Piggie are refreshing to the soul. I restrained myself and only got three this time, but I think I may end up collecting the whole pack.
Neil Gaiman was my other purchase, but I'm going to save him for next week's Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday. (This post would have been an MMGM if I had gotten my URL to Shannon Messenger in time! Go see her blog today for other great middle-grade reads.)