Thursday, November 29, 2012

Easy Reader Radar: Listen to My Trumpet! by Mo Willems (Cybils Nominee)

Listen to my Trumpet. by Mo Willems. February 7, 2012 Hyperion. 64 pages. ISBN: 9781423154044

Piggie has a trumpet, and she wants to play for Gerald. The only problem is, she’s not very good. How will she react when Gerald tells her what she plays is far from music?

I will always think the Elephant and Piggie series, as a whole, is brilliant. Only Mo Willems could bring such joy out of such simple lines on a plain white page. Some of the books in the series have been truly exceptional - especially There is a Bird on Your Head, My Friend is Sad, and We Are in a Book. Last year’s additions to the series started feeling a bit forced to me, and I started thinking it might be time for Willems to pack it in and move onto something else. Listen to My Trumpet has once again started me thinking that way.

This book has a great punchline, which I enjoyed, but getting there is very tedious. For pages upon pages, basically all the reader gets to do is read various onomatopoetic words interspersed with Gerald’s grumblings and Piggie’s excited pronouncements about her talent. The artwork doesn’t seem as polished as it did in earlier books, and even the relationship between the two main characters themselves doesn’t seem as engaging. I think all series reach a point where they just get repetitive and nothing new really happens, and that has happened for me with Elephant & Piggie. Kids continue to love them, and I will continue to recommend them to families with new readers, but if Mo Willems were to end this series soon and try something new, I’d truly be all for it.

I borrowed Listen to my Trumpet from my local public library. 

For more about this book, visit Goodreads and Worldcat.

NOTE: This book was nominated by Adam Shaffer (@MrShafferTMCE) for the 2012 Cybils Awards in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. I am a first-round panelist in this category, but this review reflects my opinions only, not those of any other panelist, or the panel as a whole. Thanks!  


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