Book Review: Because, Mo Willems
Picture Book: Because, Mo Willems
A girl’s spontaneous invitation to a concert inspires her lifelong love of music and her dream to be a composer. This lovely book is also a tribute to the all the people who contribute to a concert performance including the workers behind the scenes and the ushers. Because traces each activity and person that builds into the concert performance and how it changes the listeners.
Mo Willems is the author of over 50 books, several which have won major awards including the Caldecott Honor and Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal. I have been a Mo Willems reader and fan since our youngest son started quoting Pigeon, his favorite book character at the time, as a preschooler.
Because showcases the best qualities of Willems as an author, especially his ability to write about topics that are relevant and engaging to children. He is able to take complex themes and emotions and present them in ways that even the youngest readers can appreciate. In Because, Willems uses a lyrical cause & effect sentence pattern, similar to Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books, to give the story a predictable movement and flow until the end.
Unlike many other Willems’ books, Because is illustrated by debut picture book artist Amber Ren. Her illustrations highlight the emotional influence of the music with the swirling staff and music notes weaving in and out to the pictures. In addition, her inclusion of multicultural musicians, concert hall workers, and audience members is a delight.
Pair this book with a reading of Karla Kuskin’s The Philharmonic Gets Dressed for a shared reading time with a concert music theme.
For more on Mo Willems see