Mo Willems? He is GREAT and he co-hosts the Book Cart Drilll Team contest at ALA with Jon Scieszka which is one of the best things I have ever seen. Early reader picture books don't often win the Newbery, but the award is for books of children 0-14 so, they are in contention. And don't forget that Frog and Toad was an Honor book. I was excited to see this short story on many lists, and I am spending more time with picture books lately because I have two young cousins. One challenge when thinking about this book in terms of character development is that it is part of a series, so most readers know Elephant Gerald and Piggy before they open the book. I like this circle story, it was good fun and kids can connect to many parts of it. I LOVE the illustrations,but there are all the challenges around the Newbery rules about illustrations and how they can be considered. I LOVE that the story continues in the illustrations on the end pages. I am not sure I would fight for this book to win the Newbery (you know they really should let me on the committee), but I do highly recommend it.