When I was recently reviewing the seven elements of the speech communication process with my students, I decided to draw them a little cartoon to illustrate the concept.
It looked a little something like this.
To which one student replied, "That is freaking awesome."
And I laughed and said, "Go read Mo Willems. He invented the freaking awesome Pigeon."
It was no surprise that none of my students--save one who works in a preschool--recognized my dear pigeon friend. But if you're familiar with Mo Willems, well, you know how much Pigeon rocks the kiddy lit world.
Even Sydney knows how to draw Pigeon (thanks to the handy dandy directions on Mo Willems' web page). If you aren't familiar with the Pigeon books--Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, The Pigeon Finds a Hotdog, Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late--you are missing out on one of the classics of modern children's literature.
For as fabulous as the Pigeon books are, I think the Elephant and Piggie books are even better. If you haven't seen the Elephant and Piggie books, you are so missing out on one of life's greatest joys. Particularly Today I Will Fly and There's a Bird on Your Head. Children's literature doesn't get much funnier than this.
I suspect my girls would agree, since as they were curled up on the couch tonight--Jules with a fever of 103 and Sydney with an ear infection--the only thing that made them smile was hearing about the bird on Gerald the Elephant's head. Next month a new Elephant and Piggie book come out, and we're already excited about it.
I knew becoming a parent would change a lot of things about my life, but I don't think I would have guessed the transformation it's brought to my reading habits. Five years ago I hardly knew a single contemporary children's literature author, and now I'm pre-ordering 40-page books with line drawings and quotation bubbles.
And I couldn't be happier.