Today I Will Fly! (Elephant and Piggie) ペーパーバック – 2012/5/1
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One of a series of delightfully humorous award-winning tales for beginner readers from an internationally acclaimed author-illustrator. Gerald is careful. Piggie is not. Piggie cannot help smiling. Gerald can. Gerald worries so that Piggie does not have to. Gerald and Piggie are best friends. In Today I will Fly! Piggie wants to fly. But Gerald knows that she cannot - or can she? Told entirely in speech bubbles with a repetitive use of familiar phrases, this highly original book is perfect for children just learning to read.
"* "In the world of children's books, the biggest new talent to emerge thus far in the '00s is the writer-illustrator Mo Willems." (The New York Times Book Review) * "This picture book demands audience participation... Readers will identify with the pigeon themselves!" (The Bookseller on Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!)"商品の説明をすべて表示する
Or they do the same thing, but with rhyming: See the cat. The cat is fat. The fat cat sat. Sat on the mat. The fat cat sat on the mat. See the rat!
Ye gods. Now your kid will always be able to read -at words, but they'll read them all in a dreadful monotone, ill-suited for anything other than the phone book. Gotta indoctrinate them young to think reading is dull and boring!
Well, there is hope. Elephant and Piggie! This series does everything right.
First of all, the text is all dialog. Exciting, funny dialog with LOTS AND LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!! Ever see a first grader write? EVERY! SENTENCE! NEEDS! AN! EXCLAMATION! POINT!!!! YES IT DOES! You can't help but ham it up when you read, no matter HOW much you hate reading.
And when there is repetition - as there needs to be, to help children practice - it's natural. Piggie will say something, and then Elephant will repeat it in a disbelieving way. Or Elephant will say something and Piggie will repeat it to agree with him. Elephant: You need help. Piggie: You are right. I do need help.
Secondly, the pictures are active and engaging and funny and dramatic. Not much distracting detail, either. But while the pictures are so active and engaging and funny and dramatic, they provide a LITTLE bit of help to the shaky reader... but not so much that they think they can look at the picture and not bother with those troublesome words.
Thirdly, the books are just interesting. When you're learning something now, you have to do it more than once. It's good for kids to re-read the same books over and over again... and I'm sure it saves the teacher money on stocking her classroom shelves! But what child, honestly, wants to read a beginning reader again? It's boring! They read it once, are you happy? Now they want to get to the good stuff!
I promise you, kids will want to read these books over and over again. I don't know through educational experience, no... but I know through watching my own two nieces. I know through looking at adults eagerly picking up these books to read. Adults! There's just something about them.
Mo Willems has the magic touch, I'll tell you that.
Today I will Fly, teaches kids to never give up! All we have to do, to accomplish the impossible, is ask for help!
(Oh, wait -- that would be Elephant and Piggie! They act out simple, short and funny stories, full of emotion and humor. The dialog (and it's pretty much all dialog) is also short, fun, repetitive, and presented in color coded speech bubbles, so you always know who's speaking. Basically, an early reader's dream come true. My daughter is in love with the cute little girl pig (did I mention she was *pink*?) and about the second time through said, "I'll be Piggie". So now she reads/acts Piggie's dialog while the rest of us read/act for Gerald the elephant and the various other bit parts.
Her dramatic reading intonation is improving (you can tell questions from exclamations by tone, now) and she enjoys the humor of the stories as well, often incorporating the scripts into her regular speech -- on our way to the airport she started saying, "Today I will fly!" in her Piggie voice. (Needless to say, we replied "You will not fly today. YOU WILL NEVER FLY!" just like Gerald.) Even my 7 year old enjoys them, and will often volunteer to play a small role (like the dog or duck).
The books are just so well written -- so well *crafted* -- that they're just a pleasure to read. After wading through rivers of drek trying to pass for childen's "literature", I just can't recommend these books highly enough. These books feel as classic as Seuss and as humorous as Boynton, and for an asd kid who's also an early reader, they're a double blessing.
(Oh -- about my comment concerning feelings and emotions, I'm referring merely to wonderful illustrations of Gerald and Piggie and the emotions they convey. It provides us with a chance to say things like, "Does Gerald look skeptical? I don't think he believes his friend Piggie can really fly," and "Wow, Gerald really looks surprised! Is he surprised because Piggie is flying?" More humorous twist at the end than touchy-feely ;-)
How on earth can a cartoon elephant look so skeptical, anyway?