Friday, July 12, 2013

Letter to Mo Willems: Moe, Gerald and Piggie

Dear Mo Willems,

I want to tell you about my son, Moe. (That isn’t his real name, it’s what we call him on the internet. Not that there is anything wrong the name Moe. Or Mo.) Moe is 3.5 years old and fantastic. I’m saying that because I’m his mom, but also because it’s true.

We have read about and greatly enjoyed Edwina, the naked mole rats, and of course, the Pigeon and the Duckling. But something has happened recently involving Gerald and Piggie that I wanted you to know.

We first met Gerald and Piggie in We are in a Book! Moe adores this book, although he always hides when Piggie comes really close to scope out the reader. He howls with laughter when they make me say “banana”. He recites Gerald’s freak-out along with me as I read it.

It wasn’t long before my husband, who manages a bookstore, brought home a whack-load of Gerald and Piggie books. Moe has taken a particular shine to Are You Ready to Play Outside?, Happy Pig Day!, and Let’s Go for a Drive.

Last night, we read Are You Ready to Play Outside?, and something interesting happened. Moe started talking to Gerald and Piggie.

“Piggie?” he asked, after Piggie had declared she didn’t like rain.

“Yes?” I answered, in Piggie’s voice.

“You could try and like the rain.”

“Do you think so?” Piggie asked.


We kept reading. The story went on, and the sun came out.

“Piggie?” he asked.

“Yes?” Piggie answered.

“Don’t worry. Gerald has a plan. He will make it rain because he’s your friend.”

We finished the book, and moved on to I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen. I put Are You Ready to Play Outside? aside.

“No, Mommy! Gerald and Piggie want to see the book, too!”

So I propped the book up so they could follow along as we read I Want My Hat Back.

“Piggie, is that funny?” he asked. “Gerald, do you like this book?”

At the end of the story, he said goodnight to Gerald and Piggie and told them he’d see them tomorrow.

Thank you so much, Mr. Willems, for creating characters that have obviously captured my son’s imagination as well as his heart. I was going to write that Moe so desperately wants these characters to be real, but that isn’t true. To him, they are real. And that is the magic of books.

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