This story was another finalist in the 2009 CYBILS easy reader category.
I WILL SURPRISE MY FRIEND! is a delightful surprise. The humor is laugh-out-loud terrific as Mo Willems once again creates a fun scenario involving two young friends. It begins when Gerald and Piggie observe two squirrels playing “Surprise!” from behind a rock (jumping out at each for a fun scare). The lead characters want to have the same kind of fun, so they find a big rock to hide behind. The only problem is that they each are expecting the other to do the surprising. As they wait for the surprise, time passes and concerns grow. Where is Gerald? Where is Piggie? Their imaginations and hungry tummies take control until they each decide to leap from behind the rock and...well, you can just imagine their surprise!
This is another delightful story in the Elephant & Piggie series by author/illustrator Mo Willems. The simple illustrations assist in telling this high-action story and Willems again shows a knack for capturing perfect facial expressions. I should note however, that while the text appears to be extremely simple for an emergent reader, it does have quite a few difficult words for a beginning reader to work through (i.e., “idea, giant, scary, save”) so I would recommend that new readers have an adult nearby for guidance.
I Will Surprise My Friend! by Mo Willems/ISBN 978-142310962-4/2008/Hyperion Books for Children.