2017 Theodore Seuss Geisel Award Book Review: We Are Growing! by Laurie Keller

It’s been less than a  year since Mo Willems released the final Elephant and Piggie book, The Thank You Book.  I have to admit that my heart sank when I found out that the series would be complete.  Honestly, I had never heard of Elephant and Piggie until two years ago when my middle son brought home A Big Guy Took My Ball! and asked me to read it aloud to him.  I dare say most of my former students would agree that my strongest forte as a reading teacher is my ability to bring books to life by reading them aloud.  I enjoy giving the characters unique voices and accents.  When a character gets overexcited, so do I.  When crying is called for, I tear up just for effect.  It’s a lot of fun to see the kids make an emotional connection to the text.

The Elephant and Piggie series came to me at just the right time.  I needed a new set of read-alouds for me kids and those books were made for performance.  But hearing that the series was ending broke my heart.  Luckily, Elephant and Piggie would not go gentle into that good night!  Mo Willems began working with other authors to produce the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series.  Each book released has been a roll-on-the-floor-laughing-out-loud romp.  Elephant and Piggie are the book ends to the main story, introducing the new book in their own over-the-top way.  At the end, their banter summarizes the main theme of the book to bring everything to a close.

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We Are Growing! is one of two titles released in the fall of 2016 as a part of the new Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series of early readers.  While Elephant and Piggie are present, make no mistake:  The main attraction is the grass growing.  I bet you are wondering what can make grass growing so funny?  I thought the same thing until I read the book!

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Each blade of grass has it’s own unique personality.  They talk and debate what each blade of grass is best at.  One is the curliest while another is the silliest.  According to some hungry bugs, one blade in particular is the crunchiest!

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But there is one blade who has recently popped out of the ground and doesn’t yet know what he is best at.  Just as the blades almost figure it out, something unexpected happens that changes their perspective.  I won’t spoil it for your little reader, but I suspect the laughs you’ll hear will make it worth the wait.

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Fans of Elephant and Piggie will be happy to know that Pigeon makes his usual appearance  on the last end page.  Your kids will will search for him, I assure you!

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The Theodore Seuss Geisel Award is given to the best beginning reader book of the year.  This volume is well-deserving of the award.  The other book in this series, The Cookie Fiasco, is equally enjoyable.  Both volumes have the set bar high.  I look forward to even more great additions to the Elephant & Piggie family!  Highly recommended!

Teacher Notes

This volume makes a WONDERFUL read-aloud!  Consider using this text when you teach the life cycle of plants.  You may also want to have your kids assess themselves to see what they feel they are best at.  Everybody is good at something and this book  can help kids see that.

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