It was standing room only at Harleysville Books (Harleysville, PA) for Mo Willems’ visit! When we first pulled into the parking lot I couldn’t believe how many cars there were! AND THEN I saw it… The Happy Pig Day Van!! How cool is that? When we walked into the store we could barely move it was so crowded! The owner of the bookstore (Mrs. Shelly Plumb) told us about all the awards Mr. Willems has won, including 3 Caldecott Honors, 2 Geisel Medals, 2 Carnegie Medals, 6 Emmys (for work on Sesame Street) and a Geisel Honor. Mrs. Plumb introduced Mr. Willems and reminded everyone to support your local independent bookstore (and I am reminding you too 😉 ).
Mr. Willems then came out with Elephant and Piggie! He asked everyone to take pictures right then and then put their cameras away so they won’t miss any of the experience of being there (my mom really liked that 🙂 ). Mr. Willems then read some of his books (I Broke My Trunk, We are in a Book and Happy Pig Day). I liked how he read the title of the book and then said “By me” :). If you never heard Mr. Willems read one of his books, you just have to! He is so great at telling the story. He had everyone laughing and joining in.
I learned that although Mr. Willems wrote his first book when he was seven (it was about a kid with laser super powers) but the first book he got published was “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” (2003 – also my FAVORITE Mo Willems’ book). He said that his influence was Charles Schulz (creator of the Peanuts comics). Mr. Willems said he liked it that Charlie Brown was not always happy (come to think of it I think Charlie Brown only smiles when he’s thinking of the little girl with the red hair 🙂 ). Mr. Willems said he has gotten to know Mr. Schulz ‘s widow and that he drew “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed” with one of Charles Schulz’s nibs (a nib is the little part of a fountain pen that you dip in the ink). Mr. Willems said that his next book is always his favorite because he believes he can always do better. One of the most interesting things I heard him say was that even though his books are called “easy readers” they definitely are not “easy writers”. He explained that what he meant was that in writing a book for beginning readers, you have to use very few words that repeat but yet you have to make a whole story out of them. That does seem like a challenge!
Mr. Willems then signed everyone’s books and took time to say “Hi” to everyone as they went up to him. We also got a chance to take pictures with Piggie and Gerald. The people at Harleysville Books were super nice and even served cake to celebrate “Happy Pig Day”! Mrs. Plumb said that this event was in the “Top 10” of all the events her store ever had!
“Happy Pig Day” was just published October 4th of this year. And Mr. Willems’ next book is a Pigeon book called “The Duckling Gets a Cookie?!” and will be published April 3, 2012.
READ ON FOR MY HAPPY PIG DAY REVIEW!!
Gerald the elephant is feeling out of place. It is Pig Day and Gerald’s best pal Piggie and all his pig friends are having a great pig time. When Piggie notices Gerald is missing from the celebration, he goes to find him. Will it be a Happy Pig Day for everyone? I’m not going to tell you…read the book! Ha ha!
This book was just awesome. The story is fun and it teaches about friendship and being included. Piggie and Gerald are great characters. My sister who is having some trouble reading actually read the book three times in a row the day we got the book (OK…I have also read the book a couple times –it’s just so funny!). Mr. Willems books are some of the best children’s books I have ever read. If you are not familiar with Mr. Willems books –WHY NOT?!? Just kidding. You can learn more about Mr. Willems and his books by visiting his website by clicking HERE. His website is packed with all kinds of fun stuff and activities and is kid-friendly.