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Literature / We Are in a Book!

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We Are in a Book! is a children's book in the Elephant & Piggie series, written by Mo Willems.

In this installment, Elephant Gerald and Piggie are just sitting around as they often do, when Gerald suddenly realizes that they are being watched. Piggie quickly figures out that they are being read, by a reader, and that they are in a book. Comic hijinks ensue, until Piggie tells Gerald that the book is going to end, which throws Gerald into a panic.

Compare the famous Sesame Street book The Monster at the End of This Book, which had a similar conceit.



  • Adult Fear: As this article from 2012 notes, it is very easy to read the book as a meditation on the fear of death, once Gerald realizes the book is going to end.
    Gerald: I HAVE MORE TO GIVE!
  • End-of-Series Awareness: Happens once Piggie tells Gerald that the book is going to end.
  • Freak Out!: Gerald temporarily loses it when he realizes the book will end.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: A meditation on death, as noted in Adult Fear above.
  • Inherently Funny Words: Gerald and Piggie have great fun making the reader say "Banana!".
  • Medium Awareness: They realize pretty quickly that they are inside a book.
  • No Fourth Wall: Not a bit of one.
  • Noticing the Fourth Wall: "I think someone is looking at us."
  • Postmodernism: Gerald and Piggie become aware that they are in a book, they are part of a story, and they can influence the reader through their actions.
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  • Speech Bubbles: Piggie points them out, and actually hangs off of one, after she and Gerald realize that they are in a book.
  • Stable Time Loop: The book starts with Piggie looking at the reader, winking, and saying "Thank you." At the end of the book, after Gerald has had his panic attack, they get the idea to ask "Will you please read us again?"

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