It has certainly not been easy waiting for this latest Elephant and Piggie book for us so I’m taking a brief break from Christmassy books to review it.
How we came across this series was one of those happy random moments of parenting life. In Cambridge there is a café called Livingstones, run by St Andrew’s Church. They serve very large milkshakes, plain cheese sandwiches (or just butter sandwiches if your children are that fussy…as mine are), an indoor playhouse and a very tolerant attitude to babies and toddlers. We frequented it often.
As well as toys they also have a collection of books and on our first visit Toby found a very well read copy of Today I Will Fly right at the bottom. After that, we always had to read that book before anything else when we went back. When Toby started asking to go to the café just to read the book I bought a copy for home too.
I’m only mentioning this, not as a random anecdote, but because Elephant and Piggie books are MASSIVE in the USA, but not so here. Which is crazy.
I think it’s because of their size. They are the dimensions of a chapter book but they are most definitely not a chapter book – they are a picture book. We place them with picture books in the bookshop, because that is where they have to be, but I think that people so often miss them. They don’t miss me going on and on about how brilliant they are and the people who read them, love them. But I find it a great shame that so many children have never experienced an Elephant and Piggie book.
These books are hilarious. You have to do good character voices to bring out the drama and humour – no half-hearted performances allowed – but they have us crying with laughter. And it is nice to have a book that is small enough to tuck into a changing bag and pass to little hands when you need to occupy them with something.
Jess is days away from being 6, Toby is 8 and I am 37 and none of us have grown out of them yet. And because I keep an eye on the bestselling picture books in the USA, I knew this one was coming. Since I spotted Waiting Is Not Easy in the top ten it has taken forEVER to reach here. But my copy finally arrived on Friday.
In this book Piggie has something very exciting to show Gerald. Gerald is delighted. Until he founds out he has to wait. Waiting is very difficult. It makes him despondent, it makes him cross, it makes him give up….nearly. And then, finally, the surprise is revealed. And happily it turns out to be worth it.
Piggie drives Gerald mad with his antics, and my favourite Piggie and Elephant adventure will be Today I Will Fly, not just for nostalgic reasons, but because I think it is the funniest (Fly, fly, fly, fly, fly, fly, FLY!). This one is very good though. And has a rather beautiful moment too.
If you aren’t acquainted with Elephant and Piggie, please get to know them. You are definitely missing out.