Like a few of the other picture books I've reviewed recently (Ball, The Watermelon Seed) A Big Guy Took My Ball also won a Geisel honor award this year. Although Mo Willems missed the Medal Winner's book signing I attended, A Big Guy Took My Ball is a treasured early reader in this house and is definitely worthy of a mention here.
This Elephant and Piggie adventure begins with Piggie relaying the events surrounding her ball being taken by "a big guy". Gerald is rather large, and he assumes the "big guy" is probably close to his size. He steps up to defend his friend and then, realizing that he is dealing with a WHALE, changes his mind. But even though the whale is large, he's rather lonely, and Gerald and Piggie realize that sometimes even "big guys" just need a friend.
The beauty of Elephant and Piggie books in general, and this book is certainly no exception, is that Willems manages to write early readers that are more than just drivel. Kids, who are just learning to sound out words or who are just becoming more fluent in their reading, get practice with reading, and they enjoy what they are reading. Willems comic timing and simple humor is spot on with the preschool and early elementary set. All of the Elephant and Piggie books have been favorites with my younger 2 children as they were learning to read. We probably own half of them, and the other half we borrow frequently from the library.
You can find A Big Guy Took My Ball, and other Elephant and Piggie books, in the Early Readers section of The Book Children Store.