Mo Willems is one of our favorite authors. His books are both funny and heartwarming. They teach kids important lessons about being a good friend, following your dreams, learning new things, and more. Here are ten of our favorite Mo Willems books. If you need more ideas for books to read, we also listed 10 of our favorite classic children’s books here.
Waiting is Not Easy tells the story of Willems’s famous characters: best friends Gerald the Elephant and Piggie the pig. Piggie has a surprise for Gerald, but insists that he must wait (and wait, and wait…) to see what it is. In the end, the surprise was definitely worth waiting for, and the story encourages children to keep their sense of wonder.
Another recurring (and lovable) character in Willems’s books is Pigeon. Pigeon gets into a lot of crazy situations – he tries to drive the bus (though the bus driver tells the readers not to let him), eat a hot dog, stay up late, and wants a cookie. In this book, he faces a problem that almost any kid can relate to, he doesn’t want a bath, but he desperately needs one. He tries to avoid the bath, but once he gets in, he finds out something, he loves them!
This book is another Piggie and Gerald story. Piggie wants to tell everyone thank you, and he does! But as he goes down the very long list of those to thank, Gerald is worried that he will forget someone very important…him. I’ll let you find out whether Gerald gets his thank you in the end. Either way, it’s another fun read, which encourages reader participation.
A great short story with a fun plot twist, this book tells the story of a hungry fox who invites a seemingly defenseless mother chicken to dinner. At first, it’s unclear why the book is styled like a silent film, but Willems’s genius shines through as the reader finds out that all is not as it seems. The ending will make your kids want to hear the story again and again.
A clever and touching book structured much like an owner’s manual or welcome packet for a new hire at a company, this book is as much for children as it is for those reading to them. The simple, but effective graphics combine with elegant and profound writing that touches on subjects as varied as friendship, injustice, and cats. In the end, it is a surprisingly deep and touching book about life.
Cat the Cat introduces you to her many friends like Duck the Duck and Dog the Dog. The rhyme style, call and response, and funny pictures will quickly make this one of your kid’s favorite books, and for the adult reader, Willems throws a fun little curveball in at the end.
The second in a series, this fun tale is the story of Trixie, who brings what she thinks is her one-of-a-kind stuffed animal to school. Once there, she realizes that her beloved Knuffle Bunny isn’t the only one. Her classmate, Sonja, has a Knuffle Bunny too! When each girl ends up taking home the other girl’s bunny, their parents must find a way to swap bunnies in the middle of the night.
Gerald is tired and cranky, and needs to take a nap. Piggie, who is just trying to be helpful, keeps interrupting him. Just when Gerald is drifting off, he gets interrupted, and gets even crankier. But was he actually dreaming the whole time? This is a hilarious edition of the ever-popular Elephant & Piggie series.
Nanette’s mom finally allows her to go by herself and bring home the baguette (from the baker, Juliette). Things go quite well for Nanette until she gets a whiff of that delicious baguette. Can she make it home with the baguette? This is the kind of story that makes Willems’s books so fun to read.
Though this book is only co-authored by Mo Willems as part of the Elephant and Piggie Like Reading series, it made the list because it’s fantastic. In this book, four friends are presented with a problem. Hippo, Croc, and the two squirrels don’t have enough cookies to share! This well-illustrated and engaging tale takes the reader through lessons about sharing, conflict resolution, problem-solving, equality, and fractions–all while being very fun to read. In the end, it all works out…until someone offers the friends milk!
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