Oh, books. I love you, I love reading you, but I haven’t been writing about you for almost a year (except occasionally over at GeekMom). I still keep track of what we’re reading…for the most part. The list can be a little patchy, but it’s there. So I’ve decided it’s time to jump back into some book talking here in this space, and I figured I’d start with some of the things Hannah and I are reading together.

As I’ve been on sabbatical from book posting since last spring, it’s fitting that the last real book post I wrote was about Mo Willems. He is pretty much my favorite picture book author ever, and when I do write about books I write about his an awful lot. I’ve taught most of his ouevre as a school librarian, and they were some of the first books I bought for Hannah. A Pigeon book was the first book I ever read to Hannah.

So I shouldn’t be surprised by Hannah’s love for Elephant and Piggie.

We read a lot of Elephant and Piggie books (we have a lot of E&P books). They’re not all big successes with Hannah, but she is always excited to see one. And she recognizes these two characters at the library or bookstore and will make a beeline towards them.

She far prefers them to the Pigeon at the moment, and I think it’s safe to say that she is firmly on Team Gerald. She loves that elephant’s expressions, especially in Let’s Go for a Drive (her hands-down favorite). These early readers are pretty great for our bedtime routine. One book is about the same reading time as two board books, but if you love reading aloud (I do, I do!) they are a lot more fun. There’s wonderful repetition in some of them, sometimes even songs (“Drive, drive, drive-y drive drive!”), that flows well enough for young listeners to pick up on the patterns.

And there is a lot of expression happening in those illustrations, but they are still simply drawn and uncluttered on the page. Just right for looking at a page at a time without being overwhelmed by All The Things On The Page.

We’ve read these together for ages, definitely starting before Hannah’s first birthday. And even before that she would happily flip through the pages in these on her own. We love elephants. And pigs.