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Midwest's Monthly Book and Cook:  "A Big Guy Took My Ball!"

It's Story Time!
“Reading is a passport to countless adventures.” Mary Osborne Pope

A Big Guy Took My Ball!
Author and Illustrator: Mo Willems

Piggie is so excited to get a new ball but is devastated when a big guy takes it away from her. Gerald is big, too, but is he big enough to help his best friend?

Purchase on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.


Anticipatory Set

Show students pictures of different objects or actions (toy, book, ball).

  • After each one, ask students: How does reading a book make you feel? (playing with this toy, ball, etc.). 
  • Tell students to close their eyes and think about their feelings without saying anything. 
  • Then ask, “How would someone else know how you feel if you don’t tell them?”  
  • Allow students time to answer.  Then remind them that they would need to use their words to tell others how they feel.
  • Say: “When we are playing with our friends, sometimes we have to let them know how we feel when something happens.  Sometimes instead of using our words, though, we use our body or actions.  This doesn’t always make us feel better or solve the problem, though.”
  • Tell students that today we are going to talk about how we can solve a problem when someone takes something from us.  “How would you feel if someone took a toy from you?” Allow students time to answer.


Read and Discuss

Read A Big Guy Took My Ball! Ask the following discussion questions:

1. Why was Piggie upset? Whale took his ball. 
2. Why did Gerald get angry? Whale took Piggie’s ball. It was not fair. Whale was big. 
3. Did Whale take Piggie’s ball? No, he lost the ball and no one would play with him. 
4. How did they solve the problem? They talked it over. They decided to play ball together.


Try This

Taking Turns: 
Sit together in a circle.  Give one child a ball, and have that child say his/her name and answer a question (ex: what is your favorite animal, food, color) and then roll the ball to another child in the circle. That child can then say his/her name, answer the same question, and roll it to another child and so on until all have a turn. Then change the game a bit by having the first child say the name of the person he/she is going to roll the ball to before rolling it, and asking that child a question (such as what makes you happy or what is something special you know how to do).  That child then gets the ball and answers the questions before saying the name of another child, to whom she or he then rolls the ball and asks a question and so on.

Review Problem Solving Steps:

  1. Say the problem.  Example: Piggie had her ball taken away.
  2. Think of solutions. Example: Gerald was going to get the ball back.
  3. Use our words to solve the problem and tell the other person how we feel. Example: Piggie and Gerald were able to find out that Whale lost his ball and was sad that no one wanted to play with him.
  4. Talk it out.  Example: Piggie, Gerald and Whale found a solution that allowed all of them to have fun together.

Role Play:

  • Have students get in pairs or groups of 3-4 to practice what to do if someone takes a toy from you. Students will take turns role playing with their partner(s) using the problem-solving steps.

Create a class book: 

  • Say: Everyone wants somebody to play with.  What do you like to do that another friend could join you in playing? (brainstorm ideas)\
  • Give each child a page (see example below) to complete for a class book by adding their name and the activity they like to play along with a picture. The teacher can then compile the pages into a book that students can look at if they are feeling left out or think someone else is feeling that way, too.  They will then know what activity they could play with that child.

Check out more fun activities involving Elephant and Piggie as well as Pigeon at Mo Willem’s website:



Download the Recipe Ideas here

Download the Story Time PDF here

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