The Definitive Ranking of Every Elephant and Piggie Book
In my 15 years as a Pre-K Teacher, the best picture book series I’ve ever encountered is Mo Willems Elephant and Piggie. The books are hilarious, at times emotional, help build early reading comprehension and decoding skills, and help children learn social and emotional skills. The books are all great, but which one is the best? Below is my ranking of all 25 Elephant and Piggie Books counting down to the number 1 book along with a little commentary on 1-15.
25. Listen To My Trumpet (Feb 2012)
24. Happy Pig Day! (Oct 2011)
23. I Will Surprise My Friend! (Jun 2008)
22. I Really Like Slop! (October 2015)
21. I Am Going! (Jan 2010)
20. Pigs Make Me Sneeze! (Oct 2009)
19. Today I Will Fly! (Mar 2007)
18. Elephants Cannot Dance! (Jun 2009)
17. My Friend is Sad (Mar 2007)
16. Let's Go for a Drive! (Oct 2012)
15. Waiting Is Not Easy! (November 2014) The starry night on the last page is one of the most unique in the whole series.
14.I Am Invited to a Party! (Jul 2007): Great twist at the ending as we learn Piggie really does know parities…
13 I Broke My Trunk! (Feb 2011): This one funniest moment is when Hippo’s Sister shows up
12. Should I Share My Ice Cream? (June 2011) Sharing is hard for everyone; but for young children especially. This one sparks a lot of discussions on the topic.
11. I Love My New Toy! (June 2008): When both Elephant and Piggie are crying over the broken toy, it is similar to how preschoolers not only get cry when someone has made them upset, but also cry when they have made someone else upset.
10 Watch Me Throw The Ball! (Mar 2009)
9. The Thank You Book (May 2016): THe last book in the series. This is like the last episode of Seinfeld where all the old characters come back but unlike the Seinfeld episode, it is actually good.
8. I Will Take a Nap! (June 2015) When Piggie is a floating turnip head, we get the trippiest moment in the whole series.
7. I'm a Frog! (Oct 2013) A great book to discuss imagination with young children.
6. Are You Ready To Play Outside? (Oct 2008) Piggie shifting thoughts on rain are relatable as is Elephant’s desire to figure out how to make his friend happy.
5. A Big Guy Took My Ball (May 2013) The look on Piggie’s face when she realizes Elephant did not get the ball back is the look at of every women when she realizes that some braggadocious dude in her life did not live up to his own hype. The twist with the sad whale at the end teachers young children to empathize
4. We Are In A Book! (Sept 2010): A great meta book that teachers children all about how books work. BJ Novak’s The Book With No Pictures could be a thematic sequel to this.
3. My New Friend Is So Fun (June 2014) This is not even close to the funniest, but I’d argue it has the most pathos in the whole series as Elephant worries he has lost his best friend. Everyone from young children to adults can relate to Elephant’s anxiety.
2. Can I Play Too? (Jun 2010): In this book children learn how to be an inclusive friend, we get some sarcasm from snake early on which is rare in picture books, but the best scene is when the 100s of balls bonk snake on the head. The kids in my class can’t stop laughing at each bonk.
1. There Is a Bird on Your Head! (Jul 2007): While all the books are great, There Is A Bird On Your Head ranks as my favorite. Elephant’s slow descent from being annoyed by the bird on his head to completely losing his mind and screaming reminds me when Ed Helms as Andy Bernard in The Office slowly loses his mind and punches a hole in the wall.