I especially love his two Knuffle Bunny books. I have read the first one to my kinder classes as inspiration for projects for the past couple of years. We look at how the characters are drawn simply and in color and how the backgrounds look realistic and are in black, white, and grays. We talk about how the background images are from Trixie's (the main character) neighborhood. Finally, we talk about how the characters look like they are in front of the background settings because they cover up or overlap parts of those settings.
The project takes two classes.
1. address what authors and illustrators do
2. read the book
3. talk about character, setting, and space
4. draw our school setting as the neighborhood/background on watercolor paper
5. color the buildings with pencil and add crayola black marker lines to sky and grass
6. dip paintbrush in water and go over sky and grass- simple way to create soft texture that is different than pencil handling of buildings
next class we resume-
1. draw their character in the style of Mo Willems in pencil
2. trace lines with black marker
3. color character with crayons
4. cut character out
5. glue onto school neighborhood setting from previous session
Leonardo the Terrible Monster may be my favorite though... I think I'll do a project with that book next year!