A Big Guy Took My Ball is the latest adventure of Mo Willems’ kid-friendly duo and best friends Elephant Gerald and Piggie. Piggie has found a new ball, and she was having a lot of fun with it. Unfortunately, a big guy (a blue whale as it turns out) has taken the ball, and Piggie is very upset. Can Gerald save the day and help his friend? Or is there more to the story? (hint: there is!)
A Big Guy Took My Ball is kind of a story about bullying and kind of a story about empathy, but for a book for young children, it takes a very subtle, probably too subtle approach to those issues. That might be understandable if the story was rushed, but A Big Guy Took My Ball plays out over more than 50 pages at a pace that could generously be described as leisurely. I can say first hand, having read the book a couple of times with my children, that was about a dozen pages too many.
But at the end, after reading through the story, it was clear that neither of my children really got the message, meaning I had to spend just as much time explaining to them about bullying, which wouldn’t have been needed if the book actually told its story in a more clear and direct manner.
That’s odd, because otherwise, the book is quite clear and direct. The pages are uncluttered, with the cutely hand drawn characters and large speech bubbles (colour-coded to each character), and not much else. That clean approach makes it easy for kids to learn to read along with the story, and learn to read it for themselves.
The GamerPops Recommendation
As a parent, I definitely have a preference for stories than can teach as well as they entertain, and it is never too early to teach your children about bullying and empathy. So, Mo Willem’s A Big Guy Took My Ball hits the right notes, but doesn’t quite hit them as loud as I’d like in a book for my early readers.
A review copy was provided to GamerPops.
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