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Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

4.5 115
by Mo Willems

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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


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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.
Children's Literature
In this picture book with simple pictures and lots of empty space, a cute blue pigeon begs the reader to let him drive the bus while the bus driver is gone. He implores, promises, whines, begs, bribes (like I don't get enough of this from my kids) in order to get his chance. He says things like, "I bet your mom would let me" or "I have dreams you know." This could actually be a sad book (hey, I was always the kid who wanted the Trix rabbit to actually get some Trix) except for the last two pages. After the bus drives off leaving the pigeon looking dejected, a semi drives up, the pigeon looks at it, and says, "Hey..., and the end papers of the book have the pigeon smiling, eyes closed as he envisions himself driving a semi. Nice touch. 2003, Hyperion Books, Ages 5 to 7.
— Sharon Levin
School Library Journal
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.
Kirkus Reviews
This cinematic adventure, with its simple retro-cartoonish drawings, begins on the opening endpapers when a pale blue pigeon dreams of driving a bus. On the title page, the profile of the strong-jawed bus driver notes in a word bubble that he has to leave for a little while and requests that the reader watch things for him. "Oh and remember: "Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus." The text is a handwritten, typewriter-like hand in white word bubbles set on a background of neutral tones of lavender, salmon, celadon, and beige. With the bus in the reader’s care, the bus driver nonchalantly strolls away. Turn the page and readers see a close-up of the pigeon, who spends the next 13 well-paced pages begging, pleading, lying, and bribing his way into their hearts. The words "LET ME DRIVE THE BUS!!!" triple in size and leap from the page as the pigeon loses control, flopping across the bottom of the pages. Readers of all ages will nod with recognition of his helplessness and frustration. The bus driver returns, thanks the readers, and drives away, leaving the pigeon with his head hanging in sadness. And just like any young person, he’s quickly distracted from his disappointment when a huge truck tire zooms into view. In the end, the pigeon dreams of driving the big red tractor-trailer truck. A first picture book by an Emmy Award–winning writer and animator, listeners will be begging, pleading, lying, and bribing to hear it again and again. (Picture book. 3-5)
Children's Literature - Tiffany Erickson
When a Caldecott Honor Book comes alive with the voices of two of today's most prominent children's authors, the publisher has a winner on its hands. Scieszka plays the bus driver and Willems plays the pigeon, and a wonderful horn section imitates the audience reaction to the pigeon's begging and pleading. Other noises, like rumbling trucks and joyous jazz, express the emotions and other action played out in the text. The pacing of the narration is good and since the pages are so sparse, the music and narration are as well, never overshadowing the book in the hands of the reader. The most enjoyable spread is, of course, the pigeon's temper tantrum, with suggested bribes and pouting followed by angry yelling and winded silence. Willems makes a wonderful pigeon and children will delight in hearing his interpretation. An author interview is included in the recording and is just as entertaining as the text. Willems explains how he wants children to use the pigeon for their own stories and learn to create on their own. This is a must for library collections everywhere. Reviewer: Tiffany Erickson

Product Details

Disney Press
Publication date:
Pigeon Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.42(d)
120L (what's this?)
Age Range:
3 - 5 Years

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Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 115 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book is one of my 3 year old's favorites. We have so much fun reading it together. He gets a kick out of telling Pigeon "No" after every attempt he makes to try and convince you to let him drive the bus. It is a lot of fun to read with your child and act out the emotions.
Nella More than 1 year ago
I originally heard this story in my college course. It was a elementary education course in teaching language arts and at the start of each class our professor would read to us as if we were children. We all thought it was adorable and fit for young children. Its simple illustrations simply came alive with the book's main character the pigeon! I thought to myself how I would love to have it in my future classroom but first I must get passed the real test...my three year old daughter! Needless to say after reading it once to her during bedtime, she was hooked! In fact during her show and tell at school, she demanded that this book be her choice to show to her friends!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read this book (with FULL expression for the temper tantrum) to my first graders. They delighted in the book, and it is always (no hyperbole) always the first book they pick when we have free reading time. It has proven motivational for my students who are finding learning to read difficult - they will persist and work their way through this book as no other. It's a winner! (Thanks, Mr. Willems, for making my job just a little easier and a lot more fun!)
JillS91 More than 1 year ago
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! is an engaging interactive read aloud story. The bus driver talks directly to the audience and tells them not to let the pigeon drive the bus. The children will answer "no" to the pigeon's pleas to drive the bus as you read along. The story is funny and the pictures are simple yet captivating for young children. Ages 3-6.
Julia_Shpak More than 1 year ago
Pigeon goes on and on trying to persuade the reader to let him drive the bus, like so: "I tell you what: I'll just steer", "Hey, I've got an idea. Let's play `Drive the Bus'. I'll go first". And the kids get to say . NO! That makes them feel superior, grown up, and responsible (since the bus driver asks everyone not to let the pigeon drive the bus while he is away). It almost lets kids to be parents for a while! And they love it. Nothing can be more entertaining to the little ones as to boss around the poor pigeon, while they learn how to say no to manipulating and may be . even may be... recognize themselves in a fussy pigeon. Besides great interaction with reader, this small book is full of fun and deceptively simple artwork that looks like it was drawn by the kids themselves. But don't let the simplicity fool you - the pigeon's eyes are drawn very expressively and full of emotion, which only more delightful to the readers. Large letters are great for preschoolers to let them learn letters and new words.
Dr_Mommy More than 1 year ago
What a fun book to share with your little one! He will enjoy shouting "no!" in a playful way in this adorable story and will want to read it again and again.
Krita More than 1 year ago
My 2 and 3-year-old grandchildren love this book. It captures their attention, makes them laugh out loud and provides a wonderful source of play-acting -- they love to act out the story of the hapless pigeon who so desperately wants a chance to drive that bus!
smg5775 More than 1 year ago
Pigeon wants to drive the bus. He really, really wants to drive the bus. Really, really, really, really. Pigeon sounds like a child wheedling his or her way to get what he/she really, really, really wants. Pigeon tries but you can outlast his wheedling. Can't you? Fun book. Pigeon really does sound like a child. The illustrations are wonderful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A hilarious book! The illustrations are super cute, you can tell exactly how the pigeon is feeling just by the pictures. An opinion writing activity would go great with this story, having the children write about whether or not the pigeon should drive the bus.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a super funny book. Whenever the Pigeon asks to drive, the reader can say "NO!" The Pigeon keeps trying and trying to convince the reader to let him drive! Our class loves the speech bubbles.
destaseshi More than 1 year ago
I love this book and purchase it for friends with newborns. The author/artist captures the essence of what a child wants to explore with the Pigeon. Children and adults will love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like that this book teaches kids it's okay to say no to bad ideas and resist peer pressure in a fun way. My three and five year old granddaughters love it, and laugh at the expressions the pigeon makes. Very well done book.
also-anne More than 1 year ago
Although still a bit young to understand it, the children loved the pictures, and I'm sure it will continue to be favorite.
psycheKK More than 1 year ago
I LOVE this book. I think it is hilarious. Fortunately, the toddlers I read it to in story time at the library agreed. Unfortunately, my colleagues did not. Oh, they tolerated the pigeon, but never really embraced him.  Toddlers all know the word "no". Even my one-year-old son is familiar with it. How great to have a character in a book toddlers can say "no" to. My son wags his head, but same idea. And how absurd to have a pigeon who wants to drive a bus. At the library we even used this book at an elementary school during Space Week and had the pigeon begging to fly the shuttle. It became wonderfully Dr. Who-ish when the pigeon wanted to fly just once around the galaxy. (The would be David Tennant's Dr. Who for those wanting a mental image).  Also, the deceptively simple illustrations make the pigeon instantly recognizable. In addition to buying this book, I also bought a toy pigeon that says in Mo Willems' creepy/funny voice "Let me drive the bus!" When I pull out the book to read it, my son grabs the toy pigeon. There are other pigeon books, which also are very funny, but this one, the original, is my favorite.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
We like this book because it had lots of details and silly and funny things. This book inspired us to write books like this on our own. You should read this book because it has very funny things and makes people laugh a lot.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting idea, good for kids who are eager to try things beyond their capabilities. But I'd be careful giving it to a child who has self confidence issues.
bookWormBG More than 1 year ago
Both my 5 year old son and I love the pigeon books! We love reading them together, and he finds so much enjoyment in telling Pigeon 'NO!'
alanajoli More than 1 year ago
We cannot get enough of Pigeon's adventures, and this was a great start to them all. (We're also delighted every time Pigeon shows up in the Elephant and Piggie books.) Mo Williams is a family favorite -- a kid and adult pleaser at the same time.
BJCTX More than 1 year ago
Lots of repetition, perfect for toddlers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago