Book: Waiting Is Not Easy!
Author: Mo Willems
Age Range: 5-7
Waiting Is Not Easy! is the newest title in Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie early reader series. In this installment, Piggie tells Gerald that she has a surprise for him. Gerald spends most of the book trying to figure out what the surprise might be, and then lamenting how long he has to wait. Of course in the end, the surprise is worth waiting for.
Willems perfectly captures the attitudes of young children. The very idea of a surprise is delightful. But actually waiting for something nice, particularly when you don't know exactly what it is, is not so easy.
The funniest parts of Waiting Is Not Easy! are several instances in which Gerald, impatient, lets out a loud "GROAN". Willems shows each groan as huge, black letter in a text bubble that flat-out knocks over Piggie ("OOF!"). This is the kind of playfulness that pleases young readers. My four year old laughed out loud, particularly enjoying the acceleration of the groans ("This time he REALLY knocked her over.").
As in the other Elephant & Piggie books, the appeal of the book stems largely from the way that Willems captures the feelings of Elephant and Piggie. The illustrations are minimal, but the expressions on their faces (particularly on Elephant's face) run the spectrum from delight to misery. My favorite illustration is one in which Elephant throws his arms joyfully into the air, saying "I CAN'T WAIT." Piggie leans in, smiling, but then points out "You will have to." We see Elephant's face go blank, even as his arms are still raised.
Waiting Is Not Easy! is sure to please fans of the Elephant & Piggie series. The minimal text, complete with visual cues, as well as the universal themes, makes this a fine choice for brand-new readers. But I am perfectly happy to share this one as a read-aloud to my daughter, too, because it is funny from cover to cover, and includes a gorgeous surprise, too. Highly recommended!
Publication Date: November 4, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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