Willems, Mo. 2007. I AM INVITED TO A PARTY! New York, NY: Hyperion Books for Children. ISBN 1423106873
Piggie is excited to be invited to her first party and asks her friend, Gerald the elephant, to go with her because he knows parties. The thing they don’t know is what kind of party it will be, so they prepare for a fancy party, a pool party, and a costume party, all the while celebrating the excitement that comes with attending any party. Early readers will giggle at the delightful conclusion of this story of friendship and experiencing new things.
The themes of friendship and support are evident throughout this charming story. The stark white background lets the simple, colorful drawings show the expressive reactions Gilbert and Piggie have as the story unfolds. Piggie’s dramatic mannerisms show the mixed emotions of excitement and anticipation she feels preparing for her very first party. Gilbert’s concern over ‘getting it right’ are shown on his face as well. Willems depicts the action as Gilbert and Piggie zip and zap on and off the pages in their crazy party clothes. Wearing their fancy pool costume clothes they are ready at last the go to the party.
Dialog bubbles in alternating colors make it easy for beginning readers to follow along as the action moves forward. The changing size of the font and the use of italics will help children learn which words to emphasize as they practice reading aloud.
KIRKUS REVIEW – “This silliness is sublime.”
SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL – “These appealing titles will tickle the funny bones of children and are sure to become favorites.”
- Ask children to share ideas on what kind of party they would have. What kind of food and games would they have at their party? What would they wear, what are important things to remember when at a party?
- Lead a discussion on ways children can support their friends when they are trying something for the first time.
- Have an impromptu “Party Dance” where children show how excited they are when a party invitation arrives in the mail.
- Using dress-up props, children can choose attire for different types of parties and show appropriate manners for each.
- Explore the theme of friendship in other Mo Willems books from the Elephant & Piggie Series including Can I Play Too?, Elephants Cannot Dance!, and My Friend is Sad.