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

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Kids say

age 4+
Based on 2 reviews

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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.

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

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Kid, 9 years old March 6, 2019

This Book is for all ages

IT IS FOR EVERYONE it has positive messages and it shows a great role model the good message is to stick up for your self. It is also a funny book for early rea... Continue reading
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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love humor and animal stories

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