05 July 2012
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.