Series to Know: Elephant & Piggie

Series Info

The first five books in the “Elephant and Piggie” series.

Books:

  1. Today I Will Fly! (2007)
  2. My Friend Is Sad (2007)
  3. I Am Invited to a Party! (2007)
  4. There Is a Bird On Your Head (2007)
  5. I Love My New Toy (2008)
  6. I Will Surprise My Friend (2008)
  7. Are You Ready to Play Outside? (2008)
  8. Watch Me Throw the Ball (2009)
  9. Elephants Cannot Dance (2009)
  10. Pigs Make Me Sneeze (2009)
  11. I Am Going! (2010)
  12. Can I Play Too? (2010)
  13. We Are In a Book! (2010)
  14. I Broke My Trunk! (2011)
  15. Should I Share My Ice Cream? (2011)
  16. Happy Pig Day! (2011)
  17. Listen to My Trumpet (2012)
  18. Let’s Go for a Drive (2012)
  19. A Big Guy Took My Ball (2013)
  20. I’m a Frog! (2013)
  21. My New Friends Is So Fun (2014)
  22. Waiting Is Not Easy! (2014)

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Links: Pigeon Presents Elephant & Piggie [2013 Party Kit] || World of Elephant & Piggie [Kit] || Author Site

Awards: 2008 Geisel Medal (for There Is a Bird On Your Head), 2009 Medal (for Are You Ready to Play Outside?), 2011 Geisel Honor (for We Are In a Book!), 2012 Geisel Honor (for I Broke My Trunk!), 2013 Geisel Honor (for Let’s Go For a Drive), 2014 Geisel Honor (for A Big Guy Took My Ball), 2015 Geisel Honor (for Waiting Is Not Easy!), 2009 Monarch Nominee (for Today I Will Fly!), 2013 Monarch Nominee & Second-Place Award (for We Are In A Book!), 2008 Cybils Award (for I Love My New Toy & 2008 Cybils Finalist (for I Will Surprise My Friend!), 2009 Cybils Award (for Watch Me Throw the Ball!), 2010 Cybils Award (for We Are In a Book!), 2011 Cybils Award (for I Broke My Trunk!), 2013 Cybils Finalist (for A Big Guy Took My Ball!), 2014 Cybils Finalist (for My New Friend Is So Fun!)

Reviews: Horn Book, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, Library Media Connection Reviews

Difficulty

Elephant & Piggie is one of the first series you should point beginning readers to. Stories are easy to understand through Willems’s expressive illustrations. One of my favorite ways the books help children to understand dialogue is that Gerald(Elephant)’s words are always in a gray speech bubble while Piggie’s are always in pink. When other characters are introduced, each character has their own colored speech bubble as well.

The series builds vocabulary as it goes on. In Today I Will Fly!, readers first learn “fly” and then “flew” and “flying” later on in the story. I think this is particularly helpful for beginning readers who might be struggling to understand past/present tenses.

The first Elephant and Piggie book, Today I Will Fly! has 41 unique words while the most recent, Waiting Is Not Easy! has 72 unique words. As with every series, the range of unique words and difficulty level can fluctuate, so I’ve provided the Lexile range and Accelerated Reader ranges. Series range for Lexile: 0(BR)-240 and Accelerated Reader: 0.5-1.3.

[This is a case where I feel that Lexile & AR may be doing beginning readers a great disservice by having such low ranges. A lot of beginning readers may test out of the ranges far before they are ready to leave Piggie and Gerald behind.]

Thoughts

I feel like this is a case where I cannot be unbiased. Elephant and Piggie feel like dear friends to me after I’ve seen how the kids at both of my libraries adore them.

The humor in these books is funny to both children and adults. I have seen a room of kids crack up at “Banana!” in We Are In a Book! when just a few hours ago the librarians were in stitches practicing our reader’s theater version of the same scene. (And speaking of reader’s theater — if you’ve never done these books as a reader’s theater piece, you are missing out. We just read Waiting Is Not Easy as a form of stress relief during our last department meeting because we’re changing our ILS.)

As with all series, I know that other readers have felt like some of the sparkle of Elephant and Piggie may be leaving. I, personally, do not feel that way. I thought for a brief moment that Waiting Is Not Easy might have become my new favorite this past month, but I still think the joy of “Banana” cannot be topped.

Dates to Remember

I Will Take A Nap! — the next installment in the series — will be out on 6.2.15! Mark your calendars now!

4 thoughts on “Series to Know: Elephant & Piggie

  1. I love Elephant and Piggie, so I brought some home to read with my son before he started reading on his own. He had trouble discerning between the full-page spreads and the pages with two scenes, as most of the background space is white. I remember him saying, “Why are there two Geralds on this page?” Now that he’s a bit older, he loves them. Just thought I would throw that out there. 🙂

    Like

  2. Pingback: Review: I Will Take a Nap! | Step Up Readers

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