Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus

Book review by
Marigny Dupuy, Common Sense Media
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus Book Poster Image
Silliness that appeals to preschoolers.
Parents recommend

Parents say

age 3+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 3+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

This book essentially puts young readers in the position of adult figures as they find themselves having to deal with the persistence and coaxing of the pigeon. Throughout the book, the pigeon begs and pleads to be given the chance to drive the bus, allowing children to interact with the book and make the decisions for the pigeon. Despite his constant pestering, the pigeon ends up following directions and moves on to better things, giving readers the satisfaction of knowing they helped contribute to his happiness.

Positive Messages

At the end of the story, the pigeon learns to listen to directions and stop his wheedling. This, in turn, allows him to pursue other things -- dreaming of driving a truck! Although persistence is made out to be a bad thing in this book, the pigeon's steadfastness can be quite an admirable feat. Readers will also learn the satisfaction of saying "no" when necessary.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that with cartoon style pictures and an interactive story, this is just the sort of silliness that will appeal to a preschooler or lower elementary school-age child with a sense of humor.

User Reviews

Adult Written bykolobok April 9, 2008

Every 3 year old should read this book!

This is a fun book for your young children to read. It gives them a chance to finally say NO to something. This book works miracles in restaurants for my 2 3/... Continue reading
Parent of a 7 year old Written byeswanson April 9, 2008

Very cute book!

My 4 yo son loves how silly this book is. The author and illustrator have CLEARLY spent significant time with preschoolers 'cause they've captured k... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byScreennameGirl September 13, 2011

Good For All Ages

I read this book to my little sister. She loved it! (I did too.) The story is about a pigeon who pleads and pleads you to let him drive the bus, even though the... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byhamstergurl09 February 7, 2011

Mo Willems is One of my Heroes!

This is an excellent book for little kids. I read it when it first came out, at age 6 (I'm 14 now despite the fact that my profile says 17), and loved it.... Continue reading

What's the story?

On the title page, the bus driver addresses the reader directly. He says that he has to be gone for a while and asks if the reader can watch things, but not to 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. He begs, makes deals, pretends, complains, cajoles, bribes, and then insists that he be allowed to drive the bus, but his wish is not granted; so he fumes. The bus driver returns, thanks the reader, and drives off. The pigeon then spies a truck and a new fantasy takes hold of his imagination.

Is it any good?

Minimalist in approach, the author/artist uses a limited number of very pale colors, and most pages have a single image (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" versus "no you won't."

Things gets interesting, however, when each character appeals directly to the reader. This direct discourse from the bus driver and the goofy, wide-eyed pigeon draws the reader, or listener in the case of young children, right between the opposing parties. For young children (who think magically anyway), this is bound to be flattering and fun. Mo Willems, who has won five Emmys as a writer and animator of Sesame Street, makes a fine debut into the world of children's books.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the pigeon's persistence. Why doesn't he take "no" for an answer?

Book details

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