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Don’t Let the Author Get Away!

A Mo Willems audience.

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All too often kids fall for things—toys, hobbies, playmates—parents can’t stand. (And vice versa, to be fair.) Bedtime stories can become torture if the favored book is unbearable and must be read over and over again. And again. Which is why author-illustrator Mo Willems’s books (Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!, Knuffle Bunny, etc.) win awards and are best sellers: They’re sheer pleasure for all. Willems reads September 15 at Books of Wonder, where he’s likely to have as many groupies over voting age as under. “The difference between children and adults is that children are shorter, and that’s it,” he says. “I’m writing for people. I want everyone to enjoy.” The reading coincides with the much-awaited release of Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity as well as two new installments of his delightful Elephant & Piggie early-readers’ series. “I have a mortgage and I like to work,” quips Willems, a former Emmy Award–winning Sesame Street writer, when asked about his productivity. Books of Wonder owner Peter Glassman expects the reading will fill to capacity (about 100, big and small). “Mo’s probably the most original, freshest voice in children’s books. He brings an irreverent humor combined with a child’s view of the world.” Knuffle Bunny fans might like to know that the real Trixie is now 6 and has no siblings and everything in the books is true. Mostly. “The Knuffle Bunny is like a woman of a certain age. You can’t tell all of your secrets.” Over the summer, Willems’s daughter outgrew all he has written so far. “Every book I had written was to match her. Now I’m forced to write chick lit if I’m going to keep up.” Don’t Let the Pigeon Smooch That Boy?

9/15, noon to 2 p.m. Books of Wonder, 18 W. 18th St., nr. Fifth Ave. (212-989-3270 or booksofwonder.com); free. Ages 2 and up.


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