Mo Willems & the Storytime All-Stars Presents

TV review by
Ashley Moulton, Common Sense Media
Mo Willems & the Storytime All-Stars Presents TV Poster Image
Fun live special will delight fans of Mo Willems' books.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Featured books teach about alphabet and social-emotional skills. Willems teaches kids to draw.

Positive Messages

Willems emphasizes that every kid is an author and an illustrator. Several stories also feature positive social messages.

Positive Role Models

Guest-star comedians have strong racial and gender diversity. Willems himself is a positive role model to inspire kids to go into the arts.

Violence & Scariness

Stories featured in this special have mild scariness and sadness, like a little girl losing her favorite stuffed animal, and a friendly monster who's trying to be scary. One story briefly features the word "vomit" while an actor pretends to puke. 

Sexy Stuff
Language
Consumerism

While not an explicit advertisement, the special does show many shots of kids in the audience holding stuffed animal versions of Willems' characters and, of course, mentions several of the author's books.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Don't Let the Pigeon Do Storytime is a special recording of children's book author Mo Willems' live stage show. Several of the books performed feature mild scariness, like a child losing a favorite stuffed animal or mostly friendly monsters. One story briefly features the word "vomit" while an actor pretends to puke. While not an explicit advertisement, the special does show many shots of kids in the audience holding stuffed animal versions of Willems' characters and, of course, it mentions several of the author's books.

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What's the story?

In MO WILLEMS AND THE STORYTIME ALL-STARS PRESENT: DON'T LET THE PIGEON DO STORYTIME, beloved children's book author-illustrator Mo Willems hosts a live performance of his stories at the Kennedy Center. The variety show features readings of several of his most popular books, songs based off the stories, and Willems doing live demonstrations of storytelling and drawing. Kids can enjoy dramatic performances of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Knuffle Bunny, Waiting Is Not Easy, and more. The readings are performed by a star-studded cast, including Anthony Anderson (black-ish), Yvette Nicole Brown (Community), and Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live). And of course, the Pigeon does his best to steal the spotlight, in typical Pigeon fashion.

Is it any good?

Fans of Mo Willems will love this special, which is kind of like a little-kid version of the stand-up specials usually found on HBO Max's home network, HBO. The celebrity guest stars are fantastic and really amp up the silliness of the already entertaining books. Fred Newman lends his considerable vocal sound effect talents to the readings, and extra animations visible only to home viewers make the performances even more fun.

Kids who like Willems' books will like this special, though its slow-ish pacing may make it too long for some kids to watch all the way through in one sitting. Kids will like seeing the crowd shots of other kids reacting to the on-stage antics (parents may be less enthusiastic of the airtime the Willems character stuffed animals get alongside the kids). Overall, this live storytime special is great for families to watch together.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Mo Willems says in Don't Let the Pigeon Do Storytime that everyone's an author and illustrator. Do you agree? What if you're still learning and your drawings don't feel "good" yet?

  • Can you invent a story by starting with something that's part true, like Mo? Let's write it down! Then let's draw the pictures to go with it.

TV details

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