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Elephant and Piggie are spring break stars at library

Marie Havenga • Apr 3, 2018 at 12:00 PM

SPRING LAKE — An elephant and a pig walked into the Spring Lake District Library activity room Monday morning.

But there's no joke or punch line to this story — only squeals of delight and hugs from a huge fanbase of kids who love the Elephant and Piggie characters created by award-winning children's author Mo Willems.

A packed house greeted Gerald (the elephant) and Piggie as they entered the activity room. Kids stood in line to get their photos taken with the stars of the show, then created Elephant and Piggie baggie puppets and colored sketches from the books.

“It's amazing,” said Emily Hartman, the library's reference paraprofessional who organized the event. “I did not imagine a crowd as large as this.”

Hartman said the charm of Willem's books — simple words with endearing illustrations — impresses both parents and children.

“They are our most popular series of children's books,” she said. “The words are simple enough for little kids to read. And there's humor for big kids and adults.”

Spring Lake Township resident Seon Noren brought her 7-year-old daughter, Hanna, to Monday's event.

“They are reading lots of (Elephant) and Piggie books at school,” Noren said. “She loves them.”

Hanna said she likes the books because “they're funny.”

Spring Lake Township resident Melanie Kehley brought her children — Breslyn, 6, and Brynlee, 3 — to Monday's meet-and-greet.

“We love Elephant and Piggie,” Kehley said. “They're some of their favorite books. We have quite the collection. It's very cool there's so much excitement about this.”

Kehley said she took photos of her kids with Elephant and Piggie, and plans to glue the photos into their books.

“I'm thankful they did this (event),” she said. “This is wonderful. We live in a great community.”

Willems is a New York Times best-selling author and has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions. He created the Elephant and Piggie series for early readers in 2007.

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