Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Easy Being Green! I'm A Frog! by Mo Willems



Gerald is worried.

Gerald is nearly always worried, but this is serious! Piggie looks like Piggie, but she's acting like a... frog! She's hopping all over the page, and between ribbets, declares that she IS a frog!

That is a worrying thought for Gerald, who tends to take things literally. If a pink pig can become a frog, hopping all over and (shudder) eating flies, could the same thing happen to an elephant? Gerald most certainly does not want to be a frog. He can't even imagine acting like a frog. It's not a pretty picture!

The horrified look on Gerald the Elephant's face is priceless!

Piggie, who enjoys being the center of attention, is enjoying her little masquerade for all it is worth.

But at last she takes pity on poor Gerald and tries to explain what she is doing.


"AND YOU CAN JUST DO THAT???"says Gerald incredulously.

Piggie hastens to persuade her stodgy friend that anyone can do it. Pigs do it, even grownups do it sometimes. She tries to encourage Gerald to take that leap of faith and pretend to be a frog along with her. Gerald proclaims he can't be a frog, and Piggie retorts that Yes, he can!

But when Piggie demands to know why not, she finds that Gerald has already m-o-o-o-v-e-d on, taking fantasizing to another level.



Mo Willems' latest, I'm a Frog! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) (Hyperion Books, 2013), in his award-winning series shows beginning readers that it's easy to jump into reading with the help of Piggie and Gerald, two very different but very good friends. Willem's minimalist black-line drawings look simple, but the artist is a master of the cartoon trope, using expression lines in the faces of his characters which show everything they are thinking, providing plenty of contextual cues to help his readers. Willems keep the action lively, with characters entering and exiting from the page and with action lines showing Piggie's every hop and sweat spouting from Gerald's nervous face as he contemplates catching and downing flies. Emergent readers will love reading out loud Piggie and Gerald's two-page spread of repeated "Yes, you cans" and "NO, I CAN'TS," and joining in joyfully in Gerald's surprising MOOOing denouement. Yes, reading about out-pretending Piggie can be FUN!

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