Today I Will Fly! (Elephant & Piggie)

by Mo Willems (Author) Mo Willems (Illustrator)

Today I Will Fly! (Elephant & Piggie)
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade
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.
Today, I Will Fly! is the funny introduction to the characters. Piggie is determined to fly. But Gerald the elephant knows that's impossible--isn't it?
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Publishers Weekly

Willems ("Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!") introduces two best friends in the paper-over-board Elephant & Piggie books: a naysaying gray bespectacled pachyderm and an optimistic pink porker, whose opposing temperaments serve as the bases for sparring and mutual understanding alike. When Piggie declares, ""Today I Will Fly!"," Elephant responds, in "Green Eggs and Ham" fashion: "You will not fly today./ You will not fly tomorrow./ .../ "You will never fly!"" "I will try!" Piggie asserts. She gets assistance from a mock-ferocious bulldog, whose barking does help her to jump (but not fly), and an amiable pelican who demonstrates how friends can lend a hand (er, wing). Energetic Piggie dons a series of costumes (cowboy, clown, robot) to boost sulky Elephant's spirits in "My Friend Is Sad". Elephant does not cheer up until Piggie shows up "sans" disguise: "I saw a "cowboy"!... "But you were not there to see him!"" Elephant laments. "I need my friends!" "You need new glasses...." Piggie whispers in an aside to readers, ending on a sly note. Willems treats each page (or spread) as one panel, so the action unfolds briskly against white backgrounds. He provides the emphatic dialogue in varying font sizes and keeps the design details simple but effective: Piggie's words appear in powdery rose-colored voice bubbles, Elephant's in pale blue-gray. Nevertheless, even inexperienced readers will not be busy long, whether or not they pause to chuckle at the dueling characters' changing facial expressions. Compared to Willems's more nuanced character studies, these episodes feel all too brief. Still, readers will likely clamor for more. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3  In these two easy-to-read books, Willems introduces two best friends. Gerald is a slightly stodgy, bespectacled elephant with a stumpy, downturned trunk. Piggie is more daring and whimsical, and, like many friends, the two complement one another. In "My Friend Is Sad", Piggie tries hard to cheer her dejected friend. She disguises herself as a cowboy, clown, and a robot, but Gerald doesnt recognize her and is sad because she isnt there to enjoy the fun. Without missing a beat, Piggie points out that he needs new glasses. In "Today I Will Fly", Piggie announces her intention to do so to her skeptical pal. In the end, though, Gerald is making adventurous plans of his own. With just a few tweaks of his expressive lines, Willems creates engaging characters. The stories move briskly, with a minimal word count and touches of whimsy throughout. Fans of the authors previous books should check the endpapers for a cameo appearance of his familiar pigeon. These simple, humorous stories will sound just the right note for beginning readers. - Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA

Copyright 2007 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Hyperion Books for Children
Publication date
April 01, 2007
Elephant & Piggie
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV002200 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Pigs
JUV002080 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Elephants
Library of Congress categories
Monarch Award
Nominee 2009 - 2009
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
Recommended 2008 - 2008
Garden State Children's Book Awards
Winner 2010 - 2010

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