Don't let the pigeon drive the bus

Mo Willems

Book - 2003

When the bus driver decides to take a break from driving, a wild and wacky pigeon pleads and begs to take his place, capturing the antics of a preschooler's temper tantrum.

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Subjects
Genres
Picture books
Published
New York : Hyperion Books for Children c2003.
Language
English
Physical Description
unpaged : col. ill
ISBN
9780786819881
078681988X
Main Author
Mo Willems (-)
Review by Booklist Reviews

/*Starred Review*/ PreS. In his winning debut, Willems finds the preschooler in a pigeon: a cajoling, tantrum-throwing, irresistible bird. "I've got to leave for a little while," says a uniformed bus driver as he strolls off the opening pages. "I thought he'd never leave," says the big-eyed pigeon as he marches onto the next spread and begins his campaign to drive the bus. His tactics, addressed to an unseen audience, are many: he reasons ("I tell you what: I'll just steer"); he whines ("I never get to do anything!"); he's creative ("Let's play 'Drive the Bus'! I'll go first"); he bargains ("C'mon! Just once around the block!"). Finally he erupts in a feather-flying tantrum, followed by a drooping sulk that ends only when a truck arrives, and new road fantasies begin. Librarians may struggle with the endpapers, which contain important story content, but the design is refreshingly minimal, focusing always on the pigeon; he's the only image on nearly every earth-toned spread. Willems is a professional animator, and each page has the feel of a perfectly frozen frame of cartoon footage--action, remarkable expression, and wild humor captured with just a few lines. Preschoolers will howl over the pigeon's dramatics, even as they recognize that he wheedles, blows up, and yearns to be powerful just like they do. ((Reviewed September 1, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

The premise of this cheeky debut is charmingly absurd. When a bus driver goes on break, he asks the audience to keep an eye on his vehicle and the daft, bug-eyed pigeon who desperately wants to drive it. The pigeon then relentlessly begs readers for some time behind the wheel: "I tell you what: I'll just steer. My cousin Herb drives a bus almost every day! True story." Willems hooks his audience quickly with the pigeon-to-reader approach and minimalist cartoons. The bluish-gray bird, outlined in black crayon, expresses countless, amusing emotions through tiny shifts in eye movement or wing position. The plucky star peeks in from the left side of a page, and exhibits an array of pleading strategies against window-pane panels in mauve, salmon and willow ("I'll be your best friend," he says wide-eyed in one, and whispers behind a wing, "How 'bout I give you five bucks?"). Finally he erupts in a full-spread tantrum on an orange background, the text outlined in electric yellow ("Let me drive the bus!!!"). When the driver returns and takes off, the bird slumps dejectedly until a big red truck inspires a new round of motoring fantasies. Readers will likely find satisfaction in this whimsical show of emotions and, perhaps, a bit of self-recognition. Ages 2-6. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 2-A brilliantly simple book that is absolutely true to life, as anyone who interacts with an obdurate three-year-old can attest. The bus driver has to leave for a while, and he makes one request of readers: "Don't let the pigeon drive the bus." It's the height of common sense, but the driver clearly knows this determined pigeon and readers do not-yet. "Hey, can I drive the bus?" asks the bird, at first all sweet reason, and then, having clearly been told no by readers, he begins his ever-escalating, increasingly silly bargaining. "I tell you what: I'll just steer," and "I never get to do anything," then "No fair! I bet your mom would let me." In a wonderfully expressive spread, the pigeon finally loses it, and, feathers flying and eyeballs popping, screams "LET ME DRIVE THE BUS!!!" in huge, scratchy, black-and-yellow capital letters. The driver returns, and the pigeon leaves in a funk-until he spies a huge tractor trailer, and dares to dream again. Like David Shannon's No, David (Scholastic, 1998), Pigeon is an unflinching and hilarious look at a child's potential for mischief. In a plain palette, with childishly elemental line drawings, Willems has captured the essence of unreasonableness in the very young. The genius of this book is that the very young will actually recognize themselves in it.-Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

When the bus driver decides to take a break from driving, a wild and wacky pigeon pleads and begs to take his place, in a hilarious picture book that perfectly captures a preschooler's temper tantrum.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

When the bus driver decides to take a break from driving, a wild and wacky pigeon pleads and begs to take his place, capturing the antics of a preschooler's temper tantrum.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place-a pigeon! But you've never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate.In his hilarious picture book debut, popular cartoonist Mo Willems perfectly captures a preschooler's temper tantrum.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place-a pigeon! But you've never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate.In his hilarious picture book debut, popular cartoonist Mo Willems perfectly captures a preschooler's temper tantrum.