Saturday, June 06, 2009

Piggie Pitches: Watch Me Throw the Ball by Mo Willems

You want to throw my ball?"

"Sure," says Piggie.

"Do you know the secret of throwing?"

"Have FUN." Piggie says.

Mo Willems' new sequel in his award-winning Elephant and Piggie series, Watch Me Throw the Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) (Hyperion, 2009) continues his exploration of the interaction between this lovable odd couple, the serious, meticulous Gerald the Elephant, and the impulsive, intrepid, and fun-loving Piggie. In this early emergent reader, Piggie finds Gerald's ball. "You found MY ball," Elephant says pointedly and suggests that there is a lot involved in throwing that ball.

"Maybe ONE DAY you can throw like me. But---"

Typically, however, Piggie's impulse is to go for the gusto immediately, and he FLINGS the ball without regard to proper form, resulting in an erratic flight which takes the ball backward over his head and lands it behind Gerald.

"I threw the ball so far you cannot even see it," says Piggie, looking proud.

"Need to throw the ball? Here's the pig to call!"

Gerald stolidly feels he has to point out that the ball made no forward progress at all. "Piggie, you did not throw the ball around the world! The ball flew behind you and fell here."

Oops! Piggie has a moment of truth about personal pitching prowess, but with a "La, la, la" he points out that at least he had fun, and the elephant decides to take Piggie's approach to the whole thing with a joyful FLING of his own. "Woo Woo! Yes! I rock! " Gerald says as he celebrates the fun part of sports.

As usual, Mo Willems' delivery is right over the plate in the early reader game in his Watch Me Throw the Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book). And young picture book and emergent reader fans can soon enjoy the forthcoming entry in this series, Elephants Cannot Dance! (An Elephant and Piggie Book), (Hyperion, June 9, 2009)in which Piggie sets out to prove that when it comes to la danse, pigs have all the right moves.

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