Why Elephant & Piggie Need to Be in Your Library

As a Reading Specialist, people ask me all the time about what books they should put in their child’s library, what kind of book to bring to a shower, how to pick a great book as a gift, etc. Well, let me make this simple for you. I have two words: ELEPHANT & PIGGIE.

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No, I’m not just stating two stinky yet adorable animals. Oh no. I am instead introducing you to two of the best characters in children’s literature right now. Mo Willems, the genius behind this series, as well as the beloved Pigeon books, does a phenomenal job teaching morals to his readers in an engaging and hilarious way, all through simple conversations between Gerald the Elephant and his friend Piggie.

  • The relatable stories. Willems takes everyday events that children struggle with, such as being left out, sharing a toy, etc. and teaches how to deal with these difficult situations in an uplifting and positive way. These are not “hit you over the head” moral stories, instead simply subtle messages about how to interact with others in a respectful and fun way.
  • The creative dialogue. The books in this series simply consist of dialogue between the two main characters, with some other friends mixed in every once in a while. That means that every single word is used effectively to tell the story that you truly are reading art from someone who is the best at his craft.
  • The detailed illustrations. You would think that there would only be a few ways to draw an elephant or pig’s face. Oh no, that is not the case at all. Each drawing exudes emotion and really helps you in reading the story with gusto, such as when Piggie’s toy gets broken or Gerald becomes enraged because there is a bird nest on his head.
  • The absolutely hilarious and smart stories. Sometimes I want to smack myself in the head instead of reading the same boring book over and over again to my boys. But with my friends Gerald and Piggie, I never have that problem. I could read one of our favorites, We Are In a Book over and over again because of its smart story…and the characters ask to be read again…and how could you say no to those faces?
  • The read aloud aspect. In our house, we always read one or two books aloud while cuddling on the couch before bedtime. When we have a visitor over, they are the reader for the night. And if there are a pair of readers, we of course have them enthusiastically read the parts of Elephant and Piggie. It is so incredibly fun to hear how people interpret the animals’ voices…and I must tell you that we were absolutely SHOCKED to learn in one of the books that Piggie was a girl. Mind. Blown.
  • The draw for emerging readers. Elephant and Piggie are great for emerging readers because of the repetition and because your child can read one character and you can read the other. With both of you invested in the story, your child will be much more comfortable and confident reading out loud. Mo Willems’ books also provide a great opportunity for fluency practice in a way that other books simply don’t provide.



Now that I’ve told you about the awesomeness that is Mo Willems’ best selling book series, head off to your favorite bookstore or library to pick up a copy. And if you want to bring them home? Click here!



Looking for other book recommendations? Here are our top picks!


Happy Reading!
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  1. Cindy (Vegetarian Mamma) says

    My two boys ages 5 and 8 love to look at books and my older one is reading. I think that they would love to have elephant and piggie in our local library. I fully agree that we need one at our local library! I need to request we get one!

  2. Jeanine says

    I feel awful. I haven’t even ever heard of these books before! My kids have a great collection of books but we are always looking to expand it. Can’t Ever have enough books! I will have to check these out!

    • amandasimkin says

      You are missing out…they are fantastic! As a Reading Specialist, I am pretty picky and these are some of the best books I have ever come across!

  3. Tammilee Tips says

    I have never heard of these books before! They sound like they would be a great read for kids. I don’t think there is such a thing as to many books for kids or even adults.

  4. rochkirstin says

    I like children’s stories that leave a good moral for the kids. Creative dialogues also help since parents can act out and read the text loudly. Kids will appreciate the detailed illustrations to help them improve creativity and imagination.

    • amandasimkin says

      As a Reading Specialist, I have found that kids absolutely LOVE dramatic readings…the funnier the voice, the better!

  5. Christy Hoover says

    My heart melted when I saw the elephant and the pig on the cover. This is such a sweet looking book. We are always looking for good reading books for the kids. Thanks for sharing.

  6. lauriel says

    I have such fond memories of some of my childhood book character friends, and hope that any future children that I may have will have similar loves. This elephant and piggy duo sound super-endearing, as you’ve described the writing and artwork. And most importantly, relate-able. I’ll have to keep an eye out for them!

    lauriel of Eye For Elegance

  7. Michelle H says

    Piggie is a girl? Now I’m going to have to go back and read all of ours for context! We love these stories and you’re right, they don’t get old. Mo Willems is such a storyteller. I agree he rights simplistically, but in a way that kids totally can relate.

  8. Kate Williams says

    Oooh, I haven’t heard of these before, they look great! Our bookcase is overflowing at the moment, but I’m sure we could squeeze another book onto the pile on the floor, right?!

  9. Renee @ Gettin' Fit Fab says

    I have my girl friend coming into town with her daughter and I wanted to get her books to read. These are perfect, she loves to read to her younger brother so this will be perfect! ♥ Thank you for sharing!

  10. Amby Felix says

    Those are SO freakin CUTE! Even though my kids are a little older now we still appreciate super cute stories like this especially with such adorable illustrations! Thank you for sharing.

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