Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

We had a milestone yesterday. Maya and I wanted to meet Auntie Kati and Cousin Addy at the Children's Museum, but Patty needed the car. So Maya took her first bus ride. It was a short jaunt downtown and back. We did miss our corner by four blocks, but nothing wrong with a little extra walking on a nice day. We have a good picture. I'll add it tonight, so check back.

Fortunately the bus driver was a person and not an animal. Lord knows what would happen if it were, say, a pigeon. Mo Willems warns us not to let that happen in Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Pigeon is short, and the text is not written in a narrative style. When it first came out years ago, I didn't really like it, to be honest. But it's grown on me, probably due to seeing how much fun kids have hearing this book.

The bus driver has to step out for a bit, and he asks us to make sure the pigeon does not drive the bus. The pigeon tries to coax us in so many ways. "My cousin Herb drives a bus almost every day!" "Hey, I've got an idea. Let's play 'Drive the Bus'!" And my all-time favorite, "I'll be your best friend!"

The best part about this is when the children get to shake their heads and yell, "NOOOOOOO!" for each one.

The illustrations are so sparse and child-like, can you believe Willems received a Caldecott Honor for them? He did. On closer inspection, I can see that he does such a wonderful job of conveying emotion with so few elements. A rising scribble lets you know when the pigeon is fuming. The pigeons one big eye says a lot with the smallest changes. And the page where the pigeon is really letting go is full of motion conveyed with just a few black lines (and some flying feathers).

Pigeon is great for big groups, but you can have a blast with this one no matter how many children are with you.

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