Title: There's a Bird on Your Head
Author: Mo Willems
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Genre: Animal Fantasy
Age Level: Pre-K to 2nd Grade
Piggie is an optimist, Gerald the Elephant is a pessimist. Piggie finds the humor in a situation, Gerald the Elephant worries people will laugh at him. These two friends couldn't be more different, but they seem to compliment each other perfectly. When Piggie tells Gerals that he has a bird on his head, he runs away screaming, and the funny begins. While Piggie keeps Gerald updates about the bird, they try to figure out what to do. Turns out the only thing worse than having one bird on your head is having two!
As with all of Mo Willem's books, I was completely charmed by this story! Piggie and Gerald are good friendship models, and the way that they are drawn is so simple yet completely unique and wonderful. Willems does a great job showing emotion in his characters through a simple eyebrow angle or mouth movement. Children who enjoyed having the Pigeon books read to them will really like being able to read this to themselves. There are several other Piggie and Elephant books in the series, which is good because the repetitive, patterned nature of the text provides great scaffolding for early readers. There is also a recognition on the part of the author that adults will be reading this book as well, and he throws in a little bit of humor especially aimed adults reading with their kids.
This book is a good fluency builder for early readers, and it is entertaining to boot, unlike some early reader books that have contrived stories built around sight words or word families. The format of the book, written in a statement/question/statement pattern is good for teaching early readers about the meaning of punctuation. Below I've listed some teacher resources from the web.
Elephant and Piggie Event Kit from Mo Willem's Site
Mo Willems Author Study