This program originally broadcast on February 16, 2017.
Mo Willems, acclaimed children’s author and illustrator, joins us to talk Knuffle Bunny, Nanette’s baguette and finding empathy in today’s world.
Mo Willems writes and illustrates the children’s books that make everybody laugh. Kids and adults. They’re not funny in a cheap way. They’re funny in a deep way. Or a way that makes you think. Makes you recognize our foibles. And laugh. Their names are gently funny. “Elephant and Piggie.” “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.” “Knuffle Bunny.” (Yes, he says ka-nuffle.) This hour On Point, hero of the bedtime, bath-time, naptime read, Mo Willems. — Tom Ashbrook
From Tom’s Reading List
New Yorker: Mo Willems’s Funny Failures — “The publisher took a chance on the new characters. The Elephant and Piggie series launched in 2007; it ended, in 2016, with ‘The Thank You Book,’ the twenty-fifth installment. The books have sold many millions of copies. In the past thirteen years, Willems has written and illustrated some fifty books, more than half of which have appeared on the Times best-seller list, often for months at a time. His recurring characters are as familiar to today’s children as the Cat in the Hat is to adults.”
Publishers Weekly: Mo Willems’s Busy, Busy Year — “‘Twenty-five is a lot. I guess if you don’t know how to read by now you never will,’ Willems wisecracked. ‘But seriously, I knew from the beginning that Elephant & Piggie would be my life’s work. The part I have enjoyed the most is where they stopped being my invention and I could just put them in a position – say, have a snake show up – and they would essentially write the story for me without being bombastic or difficult like the pigeon.'”
New York Times: From Children’s Books to Live Theater: Mo Willems and Oliver Jeffers Have New Tales to Tell — “‘Adapting to the stage is always interesting, because you discover things. You have to fill time with what you’ve written, and you might realize that what you’ve done in the book may have some meat that you didn’t even anticipate.'”