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We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) Hardcover – Sep 14 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (Sept. 14 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423133080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423133087
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.3 x 24.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #42,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


After several rousing adventures, it's probably about time that Elephant (aka Gerald) and Piggie start questioning the facts of their existence-namely, that they are characters in a book, and that books end. Not to worry-they don't get all the way to the crisis-y part of such a postmodern existential dilemma; instead, being Elephant and Piggie, they explore the mystery and wonder of having an audience. Though Gerald is freaked when he realizes someone is looking at them, Piggie fearlessly approaches the book's horizon to see who it is; she discovers not only that it's a reader but also that she and Gerald can make the reader say whatever they want just by putting the text in a speech bubble. Piggie's making a reader say "banana" is all that's needed to send the friends into paroxysms of gasping laughter, until Piggie points out that Gerald may want a turn before the book ends. Gerald once again panics, and Piggie once again gathers information and formulates an idea that will save them. As always, Willems' finger is firmly on the pulse of today's kids and their culture, as he plays with the joyful, performative aspects of seeking and sustaining attention, with Gerald particularly antic in his exuberant reactions to each new development. It's a good thing that Willems chooses to place his characters on flat white backgrounds and limit the color palette to their signal pink and grey, linking them to more muted shades of those colors in their speech bubbles, since the physical comedy of their actions would be too chaotic otherwise. Gerald and piggy are so delirious with the possibility of sly manipulation of their readers, not to mention so open with their need (Gerald's embodied hysteria over finding out that the book will end closes with the small fonted, droopy-postured plea "I just want to be read" that even the smallest culture-mulchers will know how to intone). That the readers will be happy to play along-heck, who ever needed a fourth wall anyway?—BCCB

Make room for another satisfying episode in the escapades of lovable Elephant (aka Gerald) and Piggie. This time the best buddies star in a witty metafictional romp replete with visual gags, such as Piggie hanging from a speech bubble and Elephant blocking the author's name on the title page. Willems revs up the fun when the friends realize that someone is watching. Who can it be? Cautious Gerald asks, "A monster?" while savvy Piggie answers, "No. It is...a reader! A reader is reading us!" Mirth ensues as the delightful creatures comprehend a newfound power: "If the reader reads out loud," they can make the reader say words. Piggie decides upon "Banana" and Gerald's sidesplitting laughter proves contagious for all involved. But, when Gerald learns that books end, with Piggie demonstrating by turning the bottom corner of the page to see how many are left, he shouts, "This book is going too fast! I have more to give!" Not to worry the ever-resourceful Piggie has Gerald ask, "Will you please read us again?" Beginning readers will grant Gerald's request, while grown-ups will marvel at Willems's extraordinary ability to animate his personality-packed gray and pink characters with the widest range of emotions, all drawn with the simplest of line.—SLJ

In their latest pairing, Elephant and Piggie are finally ready to get meta. Realizing that their trademark blank background is, in fact, a page, the duo has a blast convincing the reader to say funny things out loud-until Piggie mentions that the book will soon end. Cue Elephant's existential crisis: "WHEN WILL THE BOOK END!?!" From there on, it's a cute-but never too heady-play on the physical object that the reader is holding, including a bit where Piggie appears to flip the pages forward to get a sense of how much time they have left. Willems' satisfying (if self-serving) solution? Read it again!—Booklist

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.—Kirkus

About the Author

Number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator Mo Willems has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions (for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale, and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity). Other favorites include Big Frog Can't Fit In: A Pop-Out Book and City Dog, Country Frog illustrated by Jon J Muth. His acclaimed Elephant & Piggie early reader series received the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009. For more information, visit

#1 New York Times Bestselling author and illustrator Mo Willems has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions (for DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS!, KNUFFLE BUNNY: A CAUTIONARY TALE, and KNUFFLE BUNNY TOO: A TALE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY) and his acclaimed Elephant and Piggie early reader series received the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009. He lives with his wife and daughter in Western Massachusetts. For more information, visit

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mommy teacher 3 on July 25 2013
Format: Hardcover
Love this book! We read it over and over again. My grade 5 class even loves this book! I also bought it for my sons teacher as a year end gift!
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By SARAH K KERBES on Nov. 3 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very entertaining early reader. Great for parents and kids.
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By S. Burden on Sept. 6 2011
Format: Hardcover
As usual Mo Willems writes an incredibly funny book, which is appreciated by kids of any ages (and adults too). Our whole family loves reading all of Mo Willems books.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 241 reviews
51 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Pretty Much Perfect Sept. 29 2010
By John X Crimmins - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I brought this book home from the library last week, as I do with everything that Mo Willems writes. My oldest, a 1st grader, read the book aloud and laughed repeatedly at the silliness. Admittedly, I got to hear "Banana!" a lot more than I really wanted that night, but that's the price you pay for quality fiction.

My youngest, a toddler, curled up with the book on the floor and leafed through it again and again, giggling hysterically at the pictures. He particularly loves Piggie leaning forward to stare at the reader, but the illustrations, so clear and expressive and silly, are all wonderful.

And me, I'm really looking forward to using the book in a storytime next week. Interactive books like this, like There Are Cats in This Book or The Monster at the End of this Book, are perfect selections to read to groups of preschoolers. They love being able to become part of the story.
32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Genius fun Oct. 2 2010
By Diana - Published on
Format: Hardcover
We are big fans of Gerald and Piggie, and of Mo Willems in general, and this is a pitch perfect book for both kids and adults. With what is probably a nod to Grover in the immortal classic The Monster at the End of this Book (Sesame Street) (Big Little Golden Book), Gerald and Piggie practically jump from the page to engage the reader. I read this book during a (child free) stroll in the bookstore, and basically made a fool of myself laughing uncontrollably, but the book is such a delightful joy that I couldn't have cared less. Don't hesitate, Readers - this is a classic for your permanent library. Thanks, Mo!
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Pundit David Plotz's off-the-cuff review Dec 2 2011
By PH-50-NC - Published on
Format: Hardcover
"....I think [We Are In a Book] is perhaps the most profound document of our time. It is about Elephant and Piggy, as they are 1.) sitting in the book and realizing that you are reading their book, 2.) watching you read the book, and then 3.) realizing that the book will come to an end. And getting increasingly anxious about what it would mean for the book to come to an end, what will happen to them. It's a meditation about textuality, and mostly, it's a meditation about death. It is about the consciousness of death. It is spooky--I read this book once, briefly, about four days ago at a friend's house, and I haven't been able to get it out of my head. It is a cheerful, and loving, and magnificent piece of art, and yet, at the same time, it will haunt your dreams. I strongly suggest you get's like [The Monster at the End of This Book], but it's more profound than that. I mean, that's a fantastic book, don't get me wrong, but the Elephant and Piggy book is...really, is grim." -David Plotz,'s Political Gabfest, 2011/12/02.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Best Childrens book ever!!!! Oct. 13 2010
By batkim12 - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the best kids book I've ever read. Mo Willems is always awesome but this one goes above and beyond. It may help to have read a few other Elephant and Piggie books to get to know the characters first, but even if you've never seen another, its fantastic. Lots of breaking the forth wall going on in here and its done amazingly fantastically well. All the Elephant and Piggie books are fantastic, My kids love them and so do my husband and I.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great Over and Over Again June 26 2011
By S. Rinder - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My 3-year-old grandson loves this book and so do I. As always with Mo Willems, the illustrations are delightful; Piggie looking back at you as you read the book is hilarious. The trick Elephant plays on the reader never fails to delight my grandson. (Who knew the work "Banana" was so funny?) And then it gets even better as Elephant realizes it is almost over. This book is one clever twist after another.

The best part is that my grandson started to act out the story, crying out "I have more to give!" over breakfast. The world is a better place with Mo Willems in it.