Mo Willems doesn’t do anything “normal.”
And thank God for that! His version of an alphabet book is as creative as you might imagine from this children’s author favorite. Mo is a New York Times best-selling author but on top of that a much beloved writer and illustrator among children. His work is often inventive, creative, and different and A Busy Creature’s Day Eating is exactly what you might expect from Mo. Like much of his work, it is also colorful, striking, and eye-popping. What makes Mo such an exceptional talent and probably why he connects so strongly to his audience is that his story, art, and other book aesthetics like shape and texture often work to compliment one another.
Title: A Busy Creature’s Day Eating
Author: Mo Willems
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Genre: Picture book, young reader
At the beginning, this book might seem to be a normal alphabet book. At least if your alphabet book included a creature who can eat almost anything. The creature begins eating normal items, going through the alphabet as you would expect. Apples, berries, cereal. But when he gets to “F” he decides to go in a different direction and starts eating furniture, a jacket, and a lunch box (among other things).
But this is where it gets interesting. Mo shifts at the letter “O” to tell a tale about what happens next using the rest of the alphabet. Each letter not only represents a word using that letter, but also advances the story. We find out what happens to the “Busy Creature” after eating a bunch of stuff that probably wasn’t too good for his digestion. Mo is willing to use words one might not expect in an alphabet book like “P” for “potty” and “Q” for “queasy.” But maybe most importantly its also a story about the love between parent and child.
I’ve become a big Mo Willems fan even long after my kids were “too old” for his books. I however, am not too old and I hope you will share Mo’s magic with your own kids.