Module One - We Are in a Book!
In this delightful story, Gerald and Piggie make the wonderful discovery that they are being read in a book! They also learn that they can encourage readers to say funny words like “Banana!” But what happens when the book ends?
APA Reference of Book
Willems,M. (2010). We are in a book. New York : Hyperion.
The Gerald and Piggie books are among my favorites! There are currently twenty four published and I think I have read them all. In “We are in a Book!” Willems employs metafiction (fiction about fiction) to help young readers understand that the characters are talking to THEM through the book! Kids love the idea that Gerald and Piggie are aware of them as the readers of the story. My granddaughter laughs repeatedly when Piggie “makes” the reader say “Banana!” over and over again. And I appreciate Gerald’s angst when he realizes the book is going to end. But of course they have a marvelous solution - just read the book again!
What the Professionals Say
Stalwart friends Piggie and Gerald the elephant push the metafictive envelope in a big way when they realize that "someone is looking at us." Is it a monster? worries Gerald. "No," replies the squinting Piggie. "It is... / a reader! / A reader is reading us!" How? wonders Gerald. Piggie drapes herself on a word bubble to demonstrate: "We are in a book!" "THAT IS SO COOL!" Joy leads to a little bit of clever practical joking—Piggie figures out how to make the readers say "banana" out loud, and hilarity ensues—which gives way to existential angst: "The book ends?!" exclaims an appalled Gerald. Emergent readers just beginning to grapple one-on-one with the rules of the printed codex will find the friends' antics both funny and provocative: Just who is in control here, anyway? As always, Willems displays his customary control of both body language and pacing even as he challenges his readers to engage with his characters and the physicality of their book. The friends' solution to the book's imminent end? "Hello. Will you please read us again?" You bet. (Early reader. 4-8)
(2010, August 11). [Review of We are in a book! by M. Willems]. Kirkus. Retrieved August 29, 2015, from https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/mo-willems/we-are-book/
A Suggestion for Use in a Library Setting
This is a perfect read aloud for preschoolers up through first grade. The kids love being able to become part of the story. It could be included in a story time about books paired with some of the other selections such as “Interrupting Chicken” by David Ezra Stein or “But Excuse Me that is My Book” by Lauren Child. As an extra activity, it might be fun to provide them with their own speech bubbles and ask them what word they would put in the book.