Oinks R Us! Happy Pig Day! by Mo Willems
"I DID NOT KNOW ABOUT HAPPY PIG DAY," Gerald muses.
But Piggy insists it's the best day of the year for pig games and pig dancing, and as if to prove her point, she points off-page where we "hear" loud voices shouting "OINKY OINK OINK!"
Three pink pigs enter, stage, er, page right, dancing lightly on their trotters and smiling broadly--a big pig, a middle-sized pig, and very small pig--who proceed to put on quite a show of swine celebration, forming a pig pyramid, engaging in an impromptu pig toss, and cavorting all over the double-page spreads. Oinky Oinks are chanted soulfully. Piggie is in her element until....
...she notices Gerald is no longer in sight.
Piggie takes a peek off-page. Gerald is sitting sadly alone. Piggie has to know what is going on with her friend.
"ARE YOU OK?" SHE ASKS SOFTLY.
"I AM SORRY, PIGGIE," SAYS GERALD SORROWFULLY.
"I HAVE A TRUNK.
I AM GRAY.
I DO NOT HAVE A SNOUT!.
I DO NOT BELONG!"
But Piggie and her compatriot pigs have a surprise for Gerald. The three pink pigs quickly pull off their full-head masks, revealing underneath--a mouse, a cat, and a bear in costume--pigs on purpose!
"HAPPY PIG DAY IS FOR . . . . EVERYONE WHO LOVES PIGS!"
And with that happy revelation, Gerald is back in the thick of the celebration, joining not a clique, but an open group, in Mo Willems' latest easy reader, Happy Pig Day! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) (Hyperion, 2011). Willems' brand-new entry in his Elephant and Piggie series has all the right stuff--glowing and individuated characters whose faces and body language practically tell the story by themselves, set against bright white, uncluttered pages, speech balloons as well as simple text, a use of fontal design elements which add to the fun, and a sweet, empathetic story which gently shows how exclusionism based on superficialities can threaten a friendship. A delightful choice for any early emergent reader.