Reviewer: Tiffany Markman, mom to a one-year-old, tries to balance her workaholism with cuddling her daughter, reading books, consuming caffeine & reining in her intrinsic kugelry. Follow her on twitter.

Elephant and Piggie is a book series by Mo Willems. It has a fantastic comic book style, and features two friends: an elephant, Gerald, and a pig, Piggie.

Issues of friendship are addressed: My Friend Is Sad, Should I Share My Ice Cream? Can I Play Too? I Will Surprise My Friend! And my favourite, We Are In A Book!

My Friend Is Sad begins with Gerald, the ellie, who has a very sad face. Piggie tries all sorts of things to cheer him up: dressing up as a cowboy, a clown and a robot. But Gerald remains sad. Eventually we discover that Gerald is sad because Piggie isn’t there, and because he can’t share the cool cowboy, clown and robot with Piggie – whom he is unable to recognise beyond the disguise. Happily, it all works out in theend, with a clever twist (that I subsequently spotted in all of the Elephant and Piggie books).

Mo Willems’s books are not only gorgeous to look at and easy to read, with very clean, well-designed pages and simple text – they’re also widely recognised: Two books in the series have been listed on Time magazine’s ‘Top 10 Children’s Books of the Year’: Today I Will Fly in 2007 and Elephants Cannot Dance! in 2009.

In terms of target reader, I’d say parents could read these books to toddlers from age 1, but – as the pages are paper rather than board – solo reading would probably be best from ages 2 to 4. And the range of books would be good to keep, to come back to in primary school, when it comes to navigating friendships and conflicts.

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