What's that you say? You think a child's picture book about an elephant and a pig with an ice cream cone should be something an adult should read? Slow down the crazy train there! We all know adult reading levels have dropped off in recent years but come on.
But no, really! This is a book you really should read. Hear me out.
Looking back I realize how fortunate I really was. Sharing and generosity were things that were taught to me from a very young age and again were hammered into me from school, first at my small catholic school (enforced by sour faced nuns with rulers) and then later on at the arts academy I attended (out of necessity). Later on when I got out in the "real world" I came to realize just how selfish most people are, how selfishness comes unthinkably to most people, easy as batting an eye and twice as quick. Often times people don't even consider the needs and wants of others in their daily routine and this is a shame - not only in the moral sense but also in the personal. For if you don't think about others who's going to think about you? When you're a kid you have others to look after you, your parents, your teachers, the government. But once you're an adult the jig is up so to speak. There are no safety nets in the adult world, and its in times of need that you have to rely not only on yourself but on the help of those nearest and dearest to you.
This is the lesson Willems so lovingly illustrates here. The scene where Gerald finally looks down and realizes that while he was agonizing over wither or not to share so long that his ice cream has melted, leaving him in a sticky puddle of his own mess is priceless. He falls to his knees, chin wibbling, eyes tearing up and then on the next page we can clearly see that the cold shock of realization has set in. "I blew it" he states. And that's a feeling most adults can probably relate to quite well. You messed up the presentation, you didn't mail the check in time, you ignored the clicking noise the car was making, you never returned that phone call. You waited and now the Big Bad has finally gone down. And while no one can solve your problems for you, the ice cream cone having melted so to speak, having those you love around you to offer support undoubtedly helps in time of need. And so our story finally ends with Piggie coming in to share her own good fortune, and while things might not all be solved, the book ends with the two friends leaning against each other, happy to show each other that they are loved and feel loved in return.
It's true that there's a child in my life. But this book stays on the shelf in my room.