A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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