Name of Book: We Are in a Book
Author/Illustrator: Mo Willems
Publisher: Hyperion DBG
Audience: Ages 3 – 7
Summary: Gerald, a cautious, bespectacled elephant, and Piggie, an insouciant, resourceful pig are best friends. Piggie has just settled down to rest against Gerald’s bulk when Gerald notices that someone is looking at them. At this point a third character enters the story-the Reader. It takes the two friends a few pages to appreciate being the center of the reader’s attention. Then the possibilities of exploiting the situation occur to Piggy. He can make the reader say a word, in this case, Banana. This first reader/picture book is guaranteed to make a child (and adult) laugh.
Literary Elements at work in the story: With lots of space, few words, three colors, simple drawings, expressive faces, and varied type. Mo Willems creates two distinct characters and an amusing situation that draws the reader in. This book, as others he has written, is a Theodore Geisel Honor Book, following in the tradition of Geisel’s highly successful easy readers.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a differeence to the story? This book requires a different perspective. The preschooler or beginning reader who hears or reads this book must engage with Gerald and Piggie as subjects as well as objects. How do they feel? What do they want? It’s an exercise in imagination and empathy – a stretch for this age but one to be encouraged.
Theological Conversation Partners: As Christians, we are part of a book, a continuation of a story that began with Abraham and goes on through the church. 1 Cor. 12:27. Eph 2:19,20. We are “read” daily by the world around us. 1 Peter 2:12, Ps. 119:79. John 20:30 tells of one author who wrote to make us part of this book. A day when Bibles are presented to children would be a good day to remind them that they are in a Book.
Faith Talk Questions:
- How do you know that Gerald and Piggie are friends?
- How did they react to being “looked at?”
- How did they finally feel about being in a book?
- Some books tell stories about imaginary people who become very real to us. Can you think of a book like that?
- Some books tell stories of real people who are very real to us even if they live in a different time or place. Can you think of a book like that?
- One book, especially, that tells about real people is important to Christians: the Bible. Its story begins with God and includes all of us. Think about how you are part of God’s book.
- How do you feel about being in a book?
Review prepared by Union Presbyterian Seminary alumna Virginia Thomas
We Are In A Book by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.