Books Are Pretty

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

A bus driver is taking a break, and asks your child to watch the bus for him. "Whatever you do," he warns, "Don't let the pigeon drive the bus!"

As soon as he leaves, the pigeon pops up and the begging begins, starting with polite wheedling and finishing in a full blown toddler temper tantrum.

Like Kevin Henke, author and Emmy-winning Sesame Street writer Mo Willems has a gift for creating excellent children's books. Pigeon, with its thick pencil outlines and quick colored pencil illustrations, seems at first as if it's drawn with haste, but upon closer inspection, Willems' gift of using simplicity to create more complex emotions and humor is obvious. The pigeon is yet another in a long line of uptight, slightly control-freakish characters that Sesame Street has perfected.

Children think the continued and growing frustration of these characters, who often have their hearts set on ridiculous things, is hilarious, and there is nothing Christopher likes better than shouting, "NO!" each time the pigeon begs to drive a city bus around the block.

Finally, the bus driver returns, and asks the child directly if s/he has allowed the pigeon to drive.

This book is just perfect for toddlers. It puts the car keys in their hands and gives them the chance to frustrate the demands of someone else - toddlers like holding the reins for a change, and instead of showing mercy, they often become as big a party pooper as mom or dad. Willems also knows the key of comedy is portraying an element of one's own self into the characters. Children know all too well what it's like to want to drive a car, or take a sip of coffee, or walk around the block by themselves, and how frustrating it is to hear "no" in response to their requests. Pigeon shows them that recognizable part, and teaches them to have a sense of humor about it.

Age appropriate for ages 1½ years to 3.

| StumbleUpon Toolbar Stumble It!