Let’s Go for a Drive by Mo Willems

Standard

Willems, Mo. Let’s Go for a Drive.  Hyperion Books for Children, 2012.  $8.99, 57 pages.

Link to Author’s Website: http://www.mowillems.com/

Links to Interviews with Author:

Links to Reviews Available Online:

Reader’s Annotation: Piggie and Elephant make plans to go for a drive.

Summary:

Piggie and Gerald the elephant decide to go for a drive.  Gerald emphasizes the need for a plan.  Included in his plan are all of the things that the two friends will  need for a drive.  This includes a map, umbrella, sunglasses, and bags to keep all of the stuff they need for their drive.  Once they are packed, Gerald realizes that they still need one more thing for their drive…a car!  Since neither has a car, and before Gerald can panic too much more, Piggie suggests they play pirates instead.  And play pirates they do.

Evaluation:

Characteristic of Mo Willems’ work, Let’s Go for a Drive features two familiar friends, Gerald the elephant and Piggie, a problem to solve, and lots of silliness.   The catchy rhythm and silly repetition of words and sounds makes this a good book for early readers. The liberal use of exclamation points amps up the energy of this book.  Willems’ signature illustrations add to the silliness of Gerald and Piggie.  Their emotions are clearly expressed in their facial expressions and body language.  Gerald’s close to hysterics is apparent in the illustrations toward the end.  Their antics are entertaining, as is their final solution to the problem of no car, making this quite an enjoyable read.

Rating Scale:

  • Popularity: 4
  • Quality: 3

Genre and Subgenre: fiction, easy reader

Appeal Factors: humor, illustrations, friends, animals, use of imagination

Readalike Titles or Authors:

  • New Socks by Bob Shea
  • Can You Make a Scary Face? by Jan Thomas
  • My Friend is Sad by Mo Willems

Awards Won and Book Lists:

  • Theodor Seuss Geisel Award

Booktalking Ideas:

  • The need for a plan
  • All of the things they need to drive

Book Discussion Questions or Ideas:

  • Why do they need so many things for their drive?
  • What would you need for a drive?
  • How have they incorporated the items they needed for a drive into playing pirates?

Why I Chose This:

I chose this title because I wanted to read one of Mo Willems’ books.  My son and I had listened to a different Elephant and Piggie story at a library story time, and I liked the two friends’ energy.

Advertisements

Harley by Star Livingstone

Standard

Livingstone, Star. Harley. SeaStar Books, 2001. $4.95, 64 pages.

Links to Reviews Available Online:

Reader’s Annotation: Harley the llama is not cut out to be a pack llama, but has a calling to be a guard of sheep instead!

Summary:

Harley can’t cut it as a pack llama.  He doesn’t like the halter, the pack, or following other llamas.  So when a shepherd is looking for something to protect her sheep from the coyotes that prowl outside of the fence, Harley is the perfect fit.  The first time Harley meets the sheep, he charges them, they all scatter, the ram charges him, and none of the animals are very happy.  But by the next morning, Harley has taken his place as the guard.  He does his job through the seasons, befriending the ornery ram, being outnumbered by the pestering lambs, scaring the coyotes from their hunt, and being shorn for the spring fair.  His llama fleece even wins a prize.  Harley has found his calling and his place in the world.

Evaluation:

Based on a true story, the story of Harley the guard llama is a charming one.  The animals in the story are not anthropomorphized, they do not talk, but their personalities come out in Livingstone’s clever style.  The language is simple and the sentences short.  Harley’s thoughts and motivations are straightforward and clear.  The description of the animals’ actions also show their personality.  The ornery ram sneaks up behind the shepherd to butt her, the ewes and lambs stay away from the ram.  Livingstone includes details and facts about guard llamas that make the story seem more believable, if a little wonderous.  The particular habits of llamas and the way that Harley interacts with the other animals make him seem more realistic.  That he enjoys being sprayed with the hose, playing with the ornery ram, and leading the sheep in a single file line make him endearing. Paired with Molly Bang’s illustrations, this short story is an enjoyable read.

Rating Scale:

  • Popularity: 3
  • Quality:3

Genre and Subgenre: realistic fiction

Appeal Factors: animals, humor, easy reader

Readalike Titles or Authors:

  • Llama Drama by Rose Impey
  • Carolina’s Gift: A Story of Peru by Katacha Diaz
  • The Littlest Llama by Jane Buxton

Awards Won and Book Lists:

  • Boston Globe – Horn Book Award honor
  • Notable Children’s book

Booktalking Ideas:

  • Harley getting a shower
  • Harley and the ram playing
  • The lambs jumping on Harley

Book Discussion Questions or Ideas:

  • Why is a llama a good guard animal?
  • What other unusual guard animals are there?
  • How does Livingstone convey the thoughts and feelings of Harley without making him seem fictionalized?

Why I Chose This:

I chose this book because it was about a llama.  I’d never heard of guard llamas, and the idea sounded intriguing.  Harley was also portrayed as a rebellious llama, which also sounded quite funny.