Book Summary: Gerald (an elephant) and Piggie (a pig) are friends who realize they are, in fact, characters in a book. They decide to play tricks on the reader but start to panic when they realize the book eventually must come to an end.
APA Reference: Willems, M. (2010). We are in a book!: An Elephant & Piggie book. New York: Hyperion Books for Children.
Impressions: This book is fantastically funny and creative. When the characters realize they are characters in a book, there is at first fear--at least from Gerald--which soon turns to unadulterated glee. The simple use of the word "banana" to incite laughter from the characters is infectious. Seeing the ensuing hilarity from the two and how such basic ideas are utilized to poke fun at both the reader and the function of a book is rather original, at least for a children's book. The meta qualities of the book, like talking to the reader or even peeling the page corner back to see a future page number is quite fun. The Elephant & Piggie books are relatively popular among children due to their unique style and graphic novel format, so seeing the characters become aware of their surroundings will make for a good treat for fans and non-fans of the series alike.
Professional Review: In their latest pairing, Elephant and Piggie are finally ready to get meta. Realizing that their trademark blank background is, in fact, a page, the duo has a blast convincing the reader to say funny things out loud—until Piggie mentions that the book will soon end. Cue Elephant’s existential crisis: “WHEN WILL THE BOOK END!?!” From there on, it’s a cute—but never too heady—play on the physical object that the reader is holding, including a bit where Piggie appears to flip the pages forward to get a sense of how much time they have left. Willems’ satisfying (if self-serving) solution? Read it again! Preschool-Grade 2.
Kraus, D. (2010). We are in a book! [Review of the book We are in a book! by Mo Willems]. Booklist, 107(2), 71.
Library Uses: This book can be used to help teach the parts of a book--words, pictures, pages, page numbers, etc., and how they work together to make a functional book.