by Kirsti Call
Mo Willems is a favorite at our house. We read his books over and over again and when we saw him speak years ago, even my 6 month old was mesmerized. Mo’s combination of text and illustration are magical. His picture books are funny, relatable to kids, and filled with the unexpected which makes them incredible mentor texts.
Humor: Mo’s books make us laugh. The sparse words and emotional illustrations in his Pigeon series provide hours of entertainment. I’ve read Pigeon Wants a Puppy hundreds of times and laughed each time. And believe it or not, Don’t Let The Pigeon Stay up Late, is the perfect bedtime story--just silly enough to get the giggles out and settle down for the night. Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus is so ridiculous and true to the feelings of a toddler that kids and adults don't mind reading it repeatedly.
Relatability: Mo’s characters resonate with kids. Just like Pigeon, kids want to drive, eat hot dogs, get puppies, stay up late! Many kids have special friends like Knuffle Bunny or alligator in Hooray for Amanda and her Alligator. And most kids want things that they don’t have like Pigeon in The Ducking gets a Cookie!?
Unexpected: Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, Leonardo the Terrible Monster, Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, and Edwina,The Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct each create a surprise from the moment you read the title. That is NOT a Good Idea! has a twist in the end that has kids begging to read the story again.
Whether you're writing funny, relatable or unexpected stories, Mo Willem's books are great mentor texts. What have you learned from his books?
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