A Big Guy Took My Ball!

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
A Big Guy Took My Ball! Book Poster Image
Sweet, funny story spotlights the trouble with assumptions.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 4+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
In addition to a terrific lesson on misunderstandings, A Big Guy Took My Ball! reinforces comparative size concepts (bigger and smaller).
 
Positive Messages

Things are not always what they seem, Gerard and Piggie learn. Assumptions lead to misunderstandings, but just a little friendly conversation can clear things up and lead to fun.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Piggie turns to his friend for help. Based on what Piggie tells him, Gerard wants to stand up for his friend (though his attitude is overly confrontational). The whale assumes the pair meant well, which opens up an opportunity for all of them to become friends. When Piggie and Gerard realize what happened, they warmly invite the whale to play with them.

Violence & Scariness
Gerard appears ready to fight on his friend's behalf, if necessary, but loses his nerve.
 
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Big Guy Took My Ball! is a clever look at how assumptions fuel misunderstandings and conflict. It's a funny story of a playground mixup that kids from preschool to elementary school can relate to. The publisher recommends it for ages 6 and up, but the humor and themes are good for kids as young as 4.
 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Kid, 10 years old August 8, 2018

Assumptions are always bad; in this case, they end up good

Mo Willems explains in a simple, easy way that it's never good to make assumptions. Piggie thinks that a big guy has taken his ball, and Gerald is prepared... Continue reading

What's the story?

Piggie is delighted to have found a big bouncy ball at the playground, but then some big guy takes it away. Heartbroken, she begs her very big friend, the elephant Gerard, to get it back for her. The injustice angers Gerard, and he marches across the playground, vowing, "Let's see how big this 'big guy' is!" Very, very big, it turns out: The ball is in the fins of a gigantic whale. Cowed, Gerard slinks back to Piggie and confesses he chickened out. The friends are interrupted by the whale's booming voice -- thanking them for finding his little ball.

\

\

Is it any good?

A BIG GUY TOOK MY BALL! is a smart and funny take on playground conflict with a sweet lesson even grown-ups sometimes struggle to remember. Mo Willems' endearing Elephant and Piggie show how making negative assumptions about other people can lead to hurt feelings and worse, while the whale shows how presuming the best can lead to good things.
Willems sets off his charming illustrations with a simple white background. Varying capitalization and typeface sizes make it an especially fun and easy read-aloud for beginning readers.
 
 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Piggie and Gerard's assumptions lead them to misunderstand the situation. How could they have avoided all this turmoil?
  •  
  • When Gerard hears Piggie's tearful tale, he gets angry and prepares to confront the big guy who took the ball. What else could he and Piggy have done?
  •  
  • Piggie and Gerard realize the situation looks completely different from the whale's perspective. Parents can talk with children about empathy and considering someone else's point of view.
  •  

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love humor and animal stories

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate