Can I Play Too – Mo Willems
Can I Play Too?
Written by Mo Willems
Gerald and Piggie are friends. One day, Gerald and Piggie meet a new friend, Snake. Snake wants to join in a game of catch. At first, Snake doesn’t think Gerald and Piggie will let him join in a game of catch but, to his surprise, they do include Snake.
Gerald and Piggie wonder how they are going to play a game of catch when Snake does not have any arms. Gerald and Piggie play catch with Snake the traditional way but this doesn’t work. However, Piggie persists, coming up with a very creative idea to include Snake in the game of catch.
This heartwarming, humorous story is a great example of the quotation, “Where there is a WILL, there is a WAY.”
- What does it mean when two people say, “Let’s play catch?”
- Usually this involves two or more people and a ball of some sort. The individuals then throw or toss the ball to each other, practicing their throwing and catching skills.
- Gerald, the elephant, asks Piggie to play catch. On Pages 6 & 7, stop and point out to the students that the two characters establish some rules and some roles. Gerald is going to start by throwing. Piggie is going to start the game by catching. There is agreement so the two characters are able to begin the game in a positive manner.
- Pages 8 & 9, Snake asks Gerald and Piggie if he can play too. Ask the students what they think Gerald and Piggie will say? Ask the students if they have ever experienced a time when someone has asked them to play or join in an activity. Ask the students to think about what their responses may have been and how that person would have reacted. If it was “Yes”, how would the person asking to join in, feel? If the response was “No” how would the person asking to join in feel and why?
- Pages 10 & 11, there are no words, but ask the students to think about what might be happening? Snake is smiling, hoping for a positive response. Gerald and Piggie are considering Snake’s request.
- Page 12, Snake says, “You do not want to play with me?” Ask the students why Snake would have asked that question? The answer is because Gerald and Piggie were hesitating or taking too long to respond.
- Page 13, Gerald tells Snake that he really wants to include him in the game of Catch. Ask the students why they think Gerald is hesitating. Why do you think he says, “But….”
- Pages 14, 15, & 16, Gerald explains very politely and respectfully to Snake that they are playing CATCH. He hints that in order to play CATCH, one needs arms.
- Page 18, Piggie explains to Snake that he does not have arms. Why are Gerald’s cheeks red? The answer is that he feels embarrassed, worried about how Snake is going to respond when Piggie points out Snake’s lack of arms.
- Pages 19 -25, Snake responds in a humorous or funny way so that Gerald and Piggie do not feel badly. Snake helps ease the situation by letting Gerald and Piggie know that although he does not have arms, he still wants to find a way to play the game together.
- Page 25, point out to the students that Piggie did a very positive thing. He pointed out one of Snake’s strengths or qualities – he has a sense of humor or that he is funny. Note Snake’s reaction…. beaming and feeling good about himself that he has a strength.
- Pages 26-27, the characters talk about the problem and try to come up with ideas. They begin with the usual traditional way of playing CATCH. Gerald and Piggie explain to Snake what they are going to do and Snake agrees to try.
- Pages 30-33, the three friends try the game and it doesn’t work. Point out that even though things didn’t work out initially, Snake was willing to persevere and try again.
- Pages 34-39, even though they persevered with the traditional way of playing catch, poor Snake was really not feeling very well. This was extremely hard on his poor body. Point out Piggie’s positive response. He didn’t give up. He said, “We need a new idea!”
- Pages 40-47, they try different ideas, but the results are not yet positive. Snake says, “WAIT!” Ask the students what they think Snake is going to say next. Ask the students what they would suggest if they were Snake.
- Pages 48-51, Snake gives up. He feels terrible because he can’t play the game of CATCH. But what Piggie does next is what friendship is all about. Point out to the students that Piggie refuses to give up.
- Pages 52-53, point out that Piggie is determined to find a way for the three friends to play together and when there is a WILL, there is a WAY. When you are really positive and genuinely wanting things to work out, you will find a way.
- Pages 56-57, Piggie comes up with a clever to play catch. Point out to the students that although it may not be the traditional way, it does not matter. Ask the students what matters most? Playing together, Snake is happy. Gerald and Piggie are happy.
- All three friends are together playing CATCH – the most important lesson of the story.
- Ask the students to think about times when they are asked by their peers or classmates to join in.
- Remember that it is important to include our classmates as much as possible.
- Remind the students that when they are playing outside and things are not always going exactly as planned, that it is okay to adapt or change the rules a bit in order to include everyone.
Fin’s Tales – Can You Help?
“I love to play hockey with my friends. Not all of my friends can skate very well but we still let everyone play. One time, we had a situation. We had a sheet of ice, but we did not have any nets for goals. What could we have done to make some goals if we did not have nets?”
“As well, one of my friends did not have any skates but we wanted to include this friend in the game somehow. What suggestions might you have to include this friend so that he felt a part of the group having fun playing this fun hockey game?”
Awosome, Inclusion/team work ideas:
” it is okay to adapt or change the rules a bit in order to include everyone.”
Absolutely! Kids love seeing there is a solution so everyone can participate in their way.