The Seemingly Unlimited Imagination of Mo Willems

Few authors have the range of Mo Willems!

All it takes is a brief glance at his output for 2021 (thus far!) and his genius becomes clear. He can go from the abstract to the tactile to music to comedic storytelling – sometimes all within one book! Although he is most known for his Pigeon tales and Elephant and Piggie stories, he has a vast diversity of styles within his published work. This year alone he has three fun but very different books – Guess What? an Unlimited Squirrels book; Opposites Abstract, a book exploring abstract art; and Doodling 101: A Silly Symposium, featuring many of Mo’s most famous creations.

Guess What? is the newest in his Unlimited Squirrels series (releasing on Oct 5 for $12.99). After completing the Elephant and Piggie series, Mo went on to create this lovable group of silly squirrels who delight children with their funny antics and often important “tails.” Mo also tells some pretty “acorn”-y jokes (literally) but what makes this book even better is he injects fun facts for kids to learn that tie into the story. In this one, Mo tells kids about the beach and things to look out for at the beach like shells and sand and sea life and sounds. He even includes an original squirrel song at the end you can actually play!

Opposites Abstract is a completely different book where Mo plays with abstract art to get both kids and adults thinking about concepts we sometimes take for granted. Through original artwork, Mo gets you to think about what makes something soft or hard, what is inclusion and exclusion, what is broken and fixed, and other dualities. The bright colors will appeal to the smallest child while the concepts will make even adults ponder the deeper meanings of life. Mo does it with an economy of words. Where a philosopher might take volumes to ponder these ideas, Mo does it with three words and a picture. With as many children’s books as I’ve read, this one was unique. This book will be released Oct. 19 for $14.99.

Doodling 101 is a fun arts and crafts book where Professor Mo takes kids (and kids at heart) through a course to earn their MMD (Master Mo Doodler) diploma! What’s great about Mo is he doesn’t limit his idea of arts and crafts to drawing stuff, but instead challenges kids to make their own game boards, draw their own coupons, create their own stage plays and more. With the help of his friends the Doodle Poodles, kids have the chance to also learn how to draw some of their favorite Mo characters like Piggie, Pigeon, the Squirrels, Leonardo the Terrible Monster, Nanette, and more. Plus, it wouldn’t be a Mo book if he didn’t encourage kids to explore their imaginations for themselves and draw whatever comes to mind. This is really a great book with hours of fun packed inside and a pretty minimal amount of supplies needed – mostly just pens, pencils, crayons, and paper. Lucky for you, this book is already out for only $19.99 ($15.99 on Amazon).

Mo Willems’ creativity is such a blessing. If you haven’t yet added his books to your library consider one of these gems! They are great for the kids (grandkids, nieces, nephews) in your life – or even you if you happen to just have immense respect for genius.

  • Thanks to Hyperion Books for Children for sharing review copies. All reviews are my own thoughts and opinions.

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