When we skyped with Catie this week, she was in melt-down mode. “She has cabin fever in a big way,” Ben told me. As they wait for Boston’s snow to melt and the repair work from the ice dam damage, I’ve just finished an article on Life’s Little Bumps (I’ll post the whole article when NoveList publishes it). I thought Catie (and perhaps her mum and dad) could use a dose of Mo Willems.
Emotional Elephant and exuberant Piggie have faced a multitude of problems because Willems has his finger on the pulse of exactly what concerns young children. Waiting Is Not Easy (Hyperion, ages 2-5) begins as Piggie cartwheels into the room announcing to his elephant friend Gerald, “I have a surprise for you!” Gerald wants to know what it is, but Piggie puts him off with, “The surprise is a surprise.” Guessing ensues. Is it big? Pretty? Something to share? ‘Yeses’ build Gerald’s excitement, but still he has to wait. Expressive elephant erupts in a giant “GROAN!” but that, and begging, pleading, and pretending indifference have no effect. Darkness comes and finally the surprise appears (for Gerald and readers) as the book ends with a gorgeous, page-filling photograph of the night sky.