“During the first wave of the pandemic in the winter, Mo Willems’s ‘‘Lunch Doodles’’ series, in which the beloved children’s-book author and illustrator led viewers in endearingly no-frills online drawing sessions, was a lifeline to families desperate to exercise their imaginations during lockdown … That Willems, who is 52, was ready to help during a hard, confusing time was no surprise. His two best-selling series of books — one about the odd couple Elephant and Piggie, the other about the mercurial Pigeon — resonate with the hard, confusing time of early childhood.”New York Times Magazine, 11/13/20
We Are Getting Ice Cream
Elephant Gerald and Piggie walk up to Penguin’s ice cream truck.
Penguin: I’m so glad to see you, Gerald and Piggie! You two are the only customers I’ve had all week.
Elephant: No way! What happened to your other regulars, Pigeon and Squirrel?
Penguin: Pigeon and Squirrel don’t come by anymore.
Elephant: Wow, they must be taking quarantine seriously. Don’t they know ice cream is essential?!
Piggie: Yes, especially chocolate ice cream.
Elephant: Give us our usual, Penguin. Chocolate sundaes!
Penguin: Ok, I’ll even thrown in some free pints. I have too much ice cream and I don’t want it to go to waste.
Elephant: FREE ice cream?! This is the BEST day of my life!
Piggie: Mine too.
We Are in a Hospital with COVID-19
One week later. Elephant Gerald and Piggie are lying in hospital beds.
Elephant: I can’t believe we are in a hospital with COVID-19!
Piggie: Ugh, don’t remind me.
Elephant: Piggie, my body aches and I feel HOT. I think I am dying! I am going to DIE!
Piggie: Gerald, get a grip. We are in a hospital so we can get better.
Elephant: Pigeon did not get better! He was on a ventilator …
Piggie: Oh, right. He got COVID-19 from driving the bus. Now he’s dead.
Elephant: I don’t want to end up like Pigeon! I don’t want to die!
Piggie: Yeah, me neither.
Elephant: (cries) It’s all my fault. I took you to get ice cream last week and didn’t wear a mask!
Piggie: It’s not your fault they don’t make masks for elephants.
Elephant: All I wanted was ice cream … Now here we are — in a hospital!
Piggie: Well, you’re lucky you’re not the one with heart disease, diabetes, and swine dysentery.
Elephant: (cries harder) You’re right. I’m not the one who’s likely to die. You are!
Piggie: Gerald, that’s enough!
Elephant: I don’t want to lose you, Piggie. You’re my best friend.
Piggie: Thanks, Gerald. You’re my best friend forever. When we get better, we’ll go get ice cream again.
Elephant: That’s a good plan. Hey, wait.
Elephant: I wonder if the hospital cafeteria has any ice cream.
Piggie: Hmm, I hope so.
Elephant: (calls help button) Hey, Nurse! Can you bring us some ice cream?
Nurse: Sure, I’ll see what we have.
Nurse enters with ice cream bowls. They taste the ice cream.
Elephant: Not bad. We are in a hospital — with ice cream!
Piggie: I wish we got chocolate instead of strawberry.
Elephant: Yum! I like all flavors … Piggie, you stopped eating. Are you ok?
Piggie: No, I can’t taste anything … and I feel so cold.
Elephant: Oh no, that’s terrible! What can I do, Piggie?
Piggie: Help me. (gasping) My. Chest. Hurts. OWWW!
Elephant: Hang on, Piggie! (hits call button) NURSE! I think Piggie is having a heart attack!
Piggie: I. Am. Going …
Elephant: Don’t go, Piggie! I need you!
Nurse comes in and checks Piggie’s vitals.
Nurse: I’m afraid Piggie is gone.
Nurse sets Piggie’s ice cream aside and pulls sheet over Piggie.
Nurse: I’m sorry we couldn’t save her.
Elephant: WAHHHH! Piggie is dead! My best friend is DEAD!
Nurse: I’m sorry. Do you need a moment alone with Piggie?
Elephant: Yes, please.
Nurse: Ok, let me know if you need anything.
Elephant: Oh! Before you go, can you hand me Piggie’s ice cream?
Nurse: You want Piggie’s half-eaten, half-melted ice cream?
Elephant: Yes, please. We never waste ice cream. Besides, Piggie didn’t like strawberry anyway.
Nurse sighs and hands him Piggie’s ice cream.
Elephant: (eats Piggie’s ice cream) Thank you, Piggie. For everything. You’re the best! Mmm.
I am Getting Ice Cream
Three weeks later. Elephant Gerald walks up to Penguin’s ice cream truck.
Penguin: I’ve missed you, Gerald. Glad you’re all better! Ready for your chocolate sundae?
Elephant: Yes, with three scoops of chocolate, please.
Penguin: That’s a lot of ice cream!
Elephant: Yeah. It’s one scoop for me, one scoop in honor of Pigeon, and one scoop in honor of Piggie.
Penguin: Oh, I didn’t know … I’m sorry for your loss, Gerald.
Elephant: Don’t feel bad for me. I am not sad today because I am celebrating the lives of my friends.
Penguin: In that case, I’ll give you two scoops free.
Elephant: Hey, could I have another scoop? My pal Squirrel passed away …
Penguin: Gerald, that’s enough! Squirrel recovered from COVID-19.
Gerald: Oh, well. It was worth a try. Thanks anyway, Penguin!