More Mo: Behind the Scenes with Mo Willems (Plus: I’M A FROG)

~posted by Ruth

A new book by Mo Willems is always cause for celebration.  The chance to delight in the latest Elephant and Piggie came at the best possible time for me, as I was finally visiting in person the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, and the special exhibit was on–you guessed it–Mo Willems!

I'm-a-FrogFirst, the new book:  I’m a Frog has the usual delightful sense of humor, playfulness, and good spirit of friendship.  Piggie has decided that she will pretend to be a frog, and poor Gerald is at first confused, then frustrated–and finally learns to use his imagination to pretend, too.  A great reminder on the importance of imagination, with lots of giggles and the amazing facial expressions and body gestures that are a touchstone in the series.

In the exhibit at the museum, it was intriguing to get to go behind the scenes and learn about Mo Willems’ process as an artist and writer, seeing the storyboards and illustration drafts for Elephant and Piggie Books, Trixie and Knuffle Bunny stories, and of course Pigeon books.   In an attempt to bring some of the wonder of the behind the scenes information to readers of this blog, I’ve found some links  that are sure to delight kids and parents alike (if you are Mo Willems fans–and who isn’t?!)

First stop, where you can check out “mo’ fun and games,” F.A.Q.’s, and some activities based on the books as well.  You can even read hilarious tweets from the Pigeon!  Want to experience Mo “up close and personal”?  This YouTube clip is a wonderful discussion of his characters, where they came from, and their growth through the years.  Willems in on sabbatical this year, and you can check out what he’s up to on his blog Mo Willems Doodles  from his Paris sketches to his upcoming play at the Kennedy Center.  From this site, you can also link to interviews as well as Teachers’ Guides.

R-and-MHope you enjoy this ode to Mo Willems as much as I enjoyed learning about him!

You might also want to check out some of our previous blogs with reviews of his books:

Celebrating the Silent Movies in Children’s Literature

Mo Willems, My Hero

Literary Vacations:  Children’s Book Museums

Book Flight:  Go Inside a Book

The Return of Favorite Characters (Preschoolers)


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