Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (Pigeon)

by Mo Willems (Author) Mo Willems (Illustrator)

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (Pigeon)
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade
Series: Pigeon

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.


More books in the series - See All

School Library Journal

Starred Review
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 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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 Publishers Weekly Used with permission.

You HAVE to read this book!

A pigeon who drives a bus??!! If you like characters that push the limits, this is the book for you. This pigeon will tell you anything- and I mean anything- just to be able to ride the bus!

Mo Willems

LeUyen Pham is the prolific and bestselling illustrator of many books for children, including Gracefor President by Kelly DiPucchio, Freckleface Strawberryby Julianne Moore and God's Dreamby Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Pham has also written and illustrated her own works, including All the Things I Love About Youand Big Sister, Little Sister. A former animator for DreamWorks, shelives with her husband and two sons in Los Angeles.

See above.

Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780786819881
Lexile Measure
280L
Guided Reading Level
I
Publication date
April 20, 2003
Series
Pigeon
Age Range
3 - 6 years
Caldecott Medal
Honor Book 2004
Red Clover Award
Winner 2005
South Carolina Childrens, Junior and Young Adult Book Award
Winner 2006
Colorado Children's Book Award
Honorable Mention 2005
Golden Archer Award
Winner 2005
Kentucky Bluegrass Award
Winner 2005
Buckaroo Book Award
Winner 2005
Flicker Tale Children's Book Award
Winner 2005
Georgia Children's Book Award
Winner 2007
Indies Choice Book Awards
Finalist 2009

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