Bibliographic Info: Willems, Mo Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Hyperion (2003) Formats: Hardcover: ISBN 0-7868-1988-X $12.99 32pp., Paperback: ISBN 10-1844285 -138, Audible Audiobook, Children’s DVD, Big Book Grade Level Equivalent: 1 Interest Level: K-2 Genre: Comedy and Humor Major Themes: Cleverness, Transportation.
Summary: A clever, creative, and persistent pigeon sees a bus and dreams of driving it. What follows is a series of attempts to convince the bus driver to let him get behind the wheel. The pigeon hilariously approaches this challenge from every angle. His efforts prove fruitless, until… a new dream is born.
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! was given the StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal on March 19th, 2015. This book meets the StorytimeWOW Standards and has been selected for the PictureBookWOW collection. Read the Storytime section below for tips on using this picture book in your storytime.
Review: “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” is a playful instant classic. This fun to read and share story hooks listeners and invites participation. The big-hearted avian hero is both manipulative and likable. The pigeon also provides storytellers with great material to work with. As the bird pleads, manipulates and smolders to no avail, children will squeal, giggle and play-along with the story. The effective illustrations are simple and economical. Three main elements clearly jump off clean backgrounds: the pigeon (mostly), the bus driver, and the bus. The pigeon’s emotions are heartfelt, well drawn and easy to recognize from a distance, making it a great addition to library or classroom storytime.
Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness: This is the perfect book for a parent or teacher to use as a tool in a “no mean no” discussion. In the end, the bus driver does not let the pigeon drive the bus. Why? That’s a great question to ask children to answer!
Significance: The pigeon moves on from disappointment at the end of the story. This final idea is a life lesson especially hard for kids to learn. As the bus drives off and the pigeon is left in sadness, he sees a truck and moves on to his next dream. It may be unrealistic, but the important part is to encourage both the child’s ability to move on and his or her interests and dreams. For older kids, this book may be used to inspire the setting of realistic goals toward achieving a dream. In this sense, the pigeon may become a role model for kids.
Storytime: “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” is pure storytime gold. Children will enjoy saying no to the pigeon as he cleverly pleads his case and approaches the problem from different angles. Some children will undoubtedly say yes. Do not stop and try convincing these children (as this may derail your story). Consider asking children why they think the bus driver would not allow the pigeon to drive his bus.
Read-alikes: “The Day the Crayons Quit” by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator) is another book that elicits empathy for disappointed characters. Both stories ask listeners to understand character’s feelings. Like the pigeon books, “Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin is a story that presents children with opportunities to help the reader uphold (or break) established rules. However, “Dragons Love Tacos” includes the repercussions.
Awards: 2004 Caldecott Honor Book, 2010 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children’s Video
I chose to review this book because of its humor. I am also reviewing recent Caldecott winners and honorees appropriate for storytime.
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Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW! Posts include links to Amazon.com where you may purchase the materials presented. Use your local library to check out books for free.