Meet the Winner: Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems
"Are you ready to play outside?" says Gerald.
"Yes, Yes, Yes!" says Piggie. "We are going to do everything today. We are going to run! We are going to skip! We are going to jump!
Nothing can stop us!"
That odd couple, Gerald the diffident elephant and Piggie, the irrepressible piglet, rush to meet each other one morning, planning all kinds of outdoor fun at last. But, of course, into each life some rain must fall, and just as they are ready to run and skip and jump in the sunshine, a rain shower begins to dampen their enthusiasm--at least, Piggie's.
"It's raining! It's pouring! It's REALLY pouring!! I don't LIKE rain!!
Piggie is irate at their bad luck, while his pragmatic friend Gerald offers him the shelter of one of his large ears. Suddenly, Piggie notices two very happy earthworms enjoying the rain, splish splashing in the showers. Hmmmm. Piggie is inspired.
"SPLASH! "This is GREAT! Let's PLAY!"
But just as the two buddies begin to splash in the puddles, it stops.
But with an optimist like Piggie and a make-do realist like Gerald, we know that even rain (or the lack of it) can't dampen the best friends' spirits for long.
Mo Willems' Are You Ready to Play Outside? (An Elephant and Piggie Book) (Hyperion, 2008), like his There Is a Bird On Your Head! (An Elephant and Piggie Book), has just taken the Theodore Seuss Geisel Award for beginning reader books. At levels below Grade 1, with easy vocabulary and wonderfully delineated characters, this series is a natural for emerging readers in Kindergarten or first grade.
Watch for Willems' latest in this series, Watch Me Throw the Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book), forthcoming in early March, 2009. Other titles in this series are I Will Surprise My Friend! (An Elephant and Piggie Book), Today I Will Fly! (An Elephant and Piggie Book), My Friend is Sad (An Elephant and Piggie Book), I Love My New Toy! (An Elephant and Piggie Book), and Elephants Cannot Dance! (An Elephant and Piggie Book).