Elephant & Piggie is a series of children's books for early readers. They are written and drawn by Mo Willems (best known for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!), and debuted in 2007.The books center on two Funny Animal friends, Gerald the elephant and Piggie the pig. Each book tends to center on everyday activities, often addressing issues of friendship along the way. While Gerald is a down-to-earth realist, Piggie is an eternal optimist, and the difference between the two personalities often drives the dialog.The books have won the Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009, and have been listed twice on Time magazine's Top 10 Children's Books of the Year.
These books demonstrate the following tropes:
An Aesop: Once per book, though usually in a very subtle way.
Accidental Art: In "Elephants Cannot Dance", Gerald's frustrated tantrum at his failure to learn how to dance is interpreted by a pair of passing squirrels as a hot new dance move, "The Elephant."
Broken Treasure: A variation occurs in "I Love My New Toy!" Piggie is madly in love with a strange new toy she's received; when Gerald throws and breaks it, Piggie becomes furious. The crisis is averted when a passerby identifies it as a "break-it-fix-it toy" that's intended to be repeatedly broken and mended... and then gets subverted when Gerald and Piggie decide to play together instead, ignoring the toy.
Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: A recurring characteristic of Gerald and Piggie's dynamic. It also forms the plot of "My Friend Is Sad"
Invoked in "I Am Invited to a Party!" when Piggie receives a party invitation and asks Gerald to accompany her. Worried that it might be a fancy pool costume party, Gerald convinces Piggie to attend in fancy evening wear, snorkling gear, and a costume. He's right.
Gerald: "What if it's a costume party?"
Piggie: "A fancy pool costume party?"
Gerald: "WE MUST BE READY!"
In "Let's Go for a Drive!", after hitting on the idea of going for a drive, Gerald decides that they need 1) a map to find out the way, 2) sunglasses if it's too sunny, 3) umbrellas if it rains, and 4) bags for their stuff. Their preparations come to naught when they realize they don't have a car, so they play pirate instead.
End of Series Awareness/Medium Awareness/No Fourth Wall/Noticing The Fourth Wall/Stable Time Loop: "We Are In A Book!" packs an impressive number of tropes into a slim children's book. Elephant and Piggie suddenly realize that someone is watching them, and quickly conclude that a reader is watching them and that they are in a book. They have a lot of fun with this until Elephant realizes that the book is about to end and panics. The dilemma is resolved when Elephant and Piggie ask the reader to read them again. Stable Time Loop comes into play on the first page, when Piggie winks at the reader and says "thank you".
Gentle Giant: In "A Big Guy Took My Ball!", Gerald sets out to retrieve the ball from the "big guy" who took it from Piggie, only to find out to his shock that the "big guy" is a gigantic blue whale. The whale is sad, because he's so big that no one will play with him.
Loophole Abuse: Invoked in "Can I Play Too?"; when Gerald and Piggie are playing catch, a snake asks to join them, despite his lack of appendages. Gerald and Piggie end up throwing the snake between them.
"I love playing catch with my friends!"
Also occurs in "Elephants Cannot Dance," when Piggie notes that Gerald's book of "Things Elephants Can Do" doesn't bar him from trying to dance.
The Merch: There's a plush toy - they come together and are bonded by velcro.
The Moving Experience: "I Am Going!" features Piggie declaring just that, and Gerald taking it to mean that she's moving away and start panicking. Who will he skip with, play Ping-Pong with and wear silly hats with? When Piggie is finally able to get a word in edgewise, she explains that she's just going to lunch.
Non-Ironic Clown: One of the things Piggie tries to do to cheer Gerald up in "My Friend Is Sad" is to dress up as a funny clown.
Serious Business: Sometimes Gerald gets very serious over everyday events, such as attending a party ("I Am Invited to a Party!") or throwing balls ("Watch Me Throw The Ball!").
"I worked very hard to learn how to throw a ball."
Shaggy Dog Story: Occurs in "I Broke My Trunk!" Gerald broke his trunk not from lifting three heavy animals (and a piano) with his trunk, but because he tripped when he rushed to tell Piggie what he had done.
Shout-Out: The inside covers of each book feature a repeating pattern related to the story at hand; the pattern inside the back cover always includes a cameo by the Pigeon from Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon Drive The Bus! series. Additionally, the one in Pigs Make Me Sneeze!shows Piggie clutching a Knuffle Bunny for comfort because she caught Gerald's cold.
That Makes Me Feel Angry: Piggie's reaction when Gerald breaks her new toy in "I Love My New Toy!". "That makes me...MAD!".
What You Are in the Dark: In "Should I Share My Ice Cream?", Gerald gets some ice cream while Piggie is off somewhere else. Gerald spends the whole book debating whether to eat all the ice cream before Piggie comes back. He finally decides he will share his ice cream with Piggie, only to realize that all his ice cream has melted. Piggie finally shows up with her own ice cream, which she shares with Gerald.