05 July 2012

Watch Me Throw the Ball! by Mo Willems

First of all, Mo Willems absolutely must be on your children's reading list. My children and I have liked almost all of his books so far- they are simple and fun, often revolving around the way young children actually think. Willems has written several series of children's books, but mostly in our house right now are the Elephant & Piggie books. They are usually cataloged as "early readers" because they are written at a fairly young reading level. However both of my non-readers love the books for their simplicity and humor. Munchkin Man has laughed out loud at the punch line of several of the books!

I have chosen to review Watch Me Throw the Ball! first, however, because it showcases very well another aspect of Mo Willems writing: although written for children, many of his books have a little message for the adult reader as well.

In  Watch Me Throw the Ball!, Gerald (the elephant) throws his ball, and then Piggie asks for a turn to throw. Gerald takes her request very seriously, reminding Piggie that throwing a ball takes "skill and practice" and hard work. Piggie, however, just wants to have fun! After a horrendous toss and some silly antics from Piggie, Gerald points out Piggie's poor throw, which Piggie acknowledges. But then she replies "But I had fun!" and skips happily off.

My children love the book because of Piggie's silliness. But I love the reminder to us adults: it is OK for children to just have fun, no strings attached! Certainly there is a place for learning correct techniques, etc. But if my little ones are simply enjoying the process, that too is very important.