By Mo Willems
(for readers in grades Preschool –Kindergarten)
Mo Willems is critically acclaimed for his humorous Elephant and Piggie series and The Pigeon books. In Because, Willems has written an inspirational one-off story about a young girl who is given her uncle’s ticket to the symphony when he is too sick to go. This one concert inspires the girl to study music and write her own symphony. If the girl had not attended the concert, she may have chosen a different life path. Willems creates a magical story about the power of because.
The story demonstrates how inspiration is a ripple-effect. Willems uses simple lines that all begin with the word ‘because’ to frame his story of the how one artist’s success is the result of centuries’ old passing inspiration forward and good fortune.
Amber Ren’s illustrations set her vibrant and diverse characters against muted backgrounds that are also worth a look. Each page is also connected by a rainbow stream of musical notation. Also each page has other musical elements that are fun to discover. Inside the front cover is the sheet music to Franz Schubert’s Symphony no. 8 in B-minor. The music that appears at the end of the book is Emily Purrington’s symphony The Cold that was commissioned for the book, and echoes the theme of the story.
If you’re a musician and can read music, take a stab at performing The Cold. And even if you’re not a musician this book is a great conversation starter about what inspirational origins are the readers’ becauses. The Mo Willems tells the story of Because’s because and Amber Ren tells her own because story here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lh7S5r78tS0&t=3s