"Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" Book Review

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Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus! Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! is a children's picture book by Mo Willems. Released by Hyperion Press in 2003, it was Willems' first book for children, and received the Caldecott Honor. On the first page, the bus driver directly addresses the reader and says that he has to be gone for a while. He asks the reader if the reader can watch things, but not to let the pigeon drive the bus. (“So can you watch things for me until I get back? Thanks. Oh, and remember: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”) As the driver walks off one page, the pigeon walks on the next asking if he can drive the bus. The pigeon then begins to plead, makes deals, complain, bribe, and beg his way through the book. While the pigeon is doing so, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate. Cooperation, leadership, and responsibility are all themes that are included in Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! This story emphasises the right thing to do and how to say no. This book also invites children to talk a loud and respond to the author of the book. This book shows that you can be rewarded for following directions. The driver arrives at the end of the book (“I’m back!”) and then asks “You didn’t let the pigeon drive the bus, did you?”. The reader is given time to answer the author and the books ends with the driver saying “Great! Thanks a lot!” Minimalist in approach, the author uses a limited number of very pale colors (white, grey, blue), and most pages have a single image (which is usually the pigeon) and a bubble of text. The strength of the story is in its simplicity. The conflict between the two main characters - the bus driver and the pigeon - is one of the most basic in early childhood: “Yes, I will” vs. "No, you won't." Mo Willems perfectly captures a preschooler's temper tantrum. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive
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