Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Overview

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.

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Overview

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.

A 2004 Caldecott Honor Book

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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.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Take a multiple award-winning book (Hyperion, 2003) written and illustrated by Mo Willems, add the author's and Jon Scieszka's voices, Peter List's animation, and Scotty Huff's lively jazz music, and the result is a tremendously captivating film. The well-loved tale of a pigeon who dreams of driving a bus, and who pleads and cajoles for the opportunity, is brought to life. The DVD opens with a choice of a Karaoke version, or one in which youngsters supply a resounding "NO!" in response to Pigeon's unrelenting bargaining to be allowed to drive the bus. Read-along subtitles, in which the words are highlighted as they are spoken, are optional. Each version opens with extra scenes of Pigeon driving a bus and delighting in the havoc he wreaks along the route. A jazzy beat sets the lively tempo of the scenes, and crazy cartoon sound effects add even more humor to Pigeon's crazy antics. The pages have been fully animated; Pigeon's expressions after each denial are priceless, and the framing of the simple bird on blank pastel pages makes his reactions even more effective. As credits roll, Pigeon and the driver discuss bus models and Pigeon's inability to actually drive. In the bonus interview, Willems offers background for the story and shows highlights of his visit with first-graders. He also teaches the children to draw Pigeon, since he thinks that books should be objects of play and doorways to creativity. Pigeon and Willems will enchant viewers.—MaryAnn Karre, Horace Mann Elementary School, Binghamton, NY
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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9789863204077
  • Publisher: Xiao Tian Xia/Tsai Fong Books
  • Publication date: 3/28/2014
  • Language: Chinese
  • Pages: 46

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