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Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus - Mo Willems

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Genre: Junior Books / Author: Mo Willems / Hardcover / 40 Pages / Book is published 2004-07-05 by Walker Books Ltd

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    6 Reviews
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      26.11.2012 12:26
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      A hilarious childrens book.

      I took my 5 year old to the library a few months ago when she came across a book called 'Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus'. She insisted that we borrow it as she had read it at school and had found it very funny. Since then I have purchased the book as she loves it so much!

      The book is written and illustrated by Mo Willems. I had never heard of Mo Willems before but the back of the book informs me that he is a 'Five-time Emmy Award winning writer and animator for Sesame Street and the creator of Cartoon Network's Sheep In The Big City'.

      A bus driver appears at the beginning of the book and talks to the reader...

      "Hi! I'm the bus driver. Listen, I've got to leave for a little while, so can you watch things for me until I get back? Thanks. Oh, and remember: Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus!".

      On the next page you get your first glimpse of the cheeky pigeon who is desperate to drive the bus. He uses all sorts of tactics to persuade the reader to let him drive the bus. His moods and tactics vary between politeness ('Please? I'll be careful'), desperation ('I know what, I'll just steer. C'mon! Just to the corner and back!'), self pity ('I never get to do anything!'), trickery ('Hey I've got an idea. Let's play 'drive the bus'! I'll go first!), bribery ('I'll be your best friend! How 'bout I give you a fiver?') and insanity ('I have dreams you know! LET ME DRIVE THE BUS!!').

      The bus driver appears again...

      "I'm back! You didn't let the pigeon drive the bus, did you? Great! Thanks a lot".

      The pigeon looks sad as the bus driver drives off in the bus, until a big truck catches his eye and he has a vision of driving the truck!

      The text throughout the book is big and bold, which is good for children who are learning to read and good for adults who may be short of sight! The illustrations are simple but so effective and so funny. The pigeons feelings and emotions are conveyed so well in the illustrations. My daughter laughs her way through the book. Although she is currently learning to read, she prefers this book to be read to her. I do my silly pigeon voice and she gets the opportunity to interact with the book as she tells the pigeon "NO!" on every page. It really is a funny book that I imagine all young children will love (probably best enjoyed by 2-6 year olds). The one and only downside is that the pigeon is a little bit of a bad influence, but I certainly wouldn't let that put you off!

      The RRP is £5.99, although you can pick it up for less at most places. It's currently selling for £4.43 on Amazon. I recently discovered that the pigeon features in other books, which include "Don't Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late!', The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!', 'The Pigeon has feelings too!', 'The Pigeon That Loves Things That Go!' and 'The Pigeon Finds a Hotdog!'. I'm sure these will become part of my daughters book collection in no time!

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        20.11.2012 17:31
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        Durable book that children will love

        I read my three year old daughter a bedtime story every other night (and my partner does the honors the remaining nights). We buy her books often but one of her favorites at the moment is a hand me down book from her older sister. I was not surprised by how much she took to this book as it had been well loved by her sister for quite a few years and it is a book I still enjoyed reading after all this time. The book I am talking about is called "Don't let the Pigeon drive the bus!" it is illustrated and written by Mo Willems. Not only has Mo Willems created the childrens show "Sheep in the big city" but he was also a writer and animator for Sesame street, for which he he won five Emmy Awards. Pretty impressive. "Don't let the Pigeon Drive the bus" was Willems first novel and it was awarded the Caldecott Honor.

        The cover of the book is very simplistic. The background is a light brown colour and there is a large speech bubble with the title written inside. There is also a picture of "The Pigeon" looking very mischievous.

        At the beginning of the book we meet the bus driver who informs the reader that he has to pop out for a while and asks if they could look after the bus until he gets back, but under no circumstances must they let the Pigeon drive the bus and with that he leaves. Cue the Pigeon who tries to get the reader to let him have a go of the bus in a variety and comical different ways. He fibs, he boasts, he tricks  and he even throws a temper tantrum. The Pigeon tries to convince the reader that he knows how to drive a bus because he has a cousin who drives one everyday or that he will be your best friend if you let him. Of course the reader says "No" to all the Pigeons demands until finally the bus driver returns.

        The animation of this book is just like the books cover, the pages are simple and mostly just contain drawings of the Pigeon along with the text which is written in speech bubbles. This is a really unique book which quickly draws in the reader. The style of the book makes it interactive, my daughter certainly enjoys shouting "No" to the Pigeons various requests and refuses to let him drive the bus. It is a very funny comical book. I think this is a great book that will be well loved by young children and their parents, highly recommended.

        Our copy of this book is quite a few years old now and has been well read in this time. However, it is still in fantastic condition. The pages are made from high quality paper and have not ripped or torn. The cover and spine have also remained strong and intact. I have found the book to be durable and long lasting which I always find important with childrens books.

        The copy I have is a hardback, which I picked it up from a discount book shop so long ago that I have no idea how much it cost. The RRP on the back of the book is £9.99. It can currently be bought from Amazon for £4.43 (free super saver delivery is available).  

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          05.08.2010 21:59
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          Bedtime favourite.

          As the back of the book says; 'At last! A book you can say no to!'

          The pigeon wants to drive the bus but the bus driver has asked you not to let it! Poor pigeon! Its enthusiasm hardly wavering it tries a variety of methods to get you to allow the aforementioned bus driving. From bribery ('I'll give you a fiver!') to peer pressure ('My cousin Harry dries a bus nearly every day!'), taking in minimisation on the way ('Just to the corner and back!'). After each suggestion the audience (in this case my daughter, husband and myself) shout 'Noooo!'. My daughter's recently learnt to say 'no' instead of signing it and she delights in practicing this new skill!

          The pigeon is not a good role model! Its behaviour is frankly shocking! It tantrums, cajoles, begs, pleads and attempts manipulation, but it does so in a very funny way, accompanied by strong, simple illustrations. This has led to many wee conversation with our daughter (14 months at time of review) about how 'that was very naughty! We wouldn't do that!'. I have heard concern that children may follow Pigeon's example but we've seen no evidence of this (so far touch wood!).

          Well written with fabulous funny illustrations this is very much in the bedtime favourites pile, serving to let out the day's frustrations and stresses as we tell the pigeon off and laugh at its antics. We own a couple of the sequels too, each of which has its own charms, but this first is a classic.

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            04.03.2010 20:35
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            a fun story that keeps children entertained

            I am currently on placement in a day nursey working with preschool children aged 3-5 years old. This is one of their favourite (and mine!) books. It is an enjoyable book to read and also gets audience interaction from the children.

            It is about a pigeon who really wants to drive the bus! But the bus driver said he wasnt allowed, so the pigeon tries and tries to get you to let him drive the bus, some classic lines such as 'I bet you Mum would let me', 'Il give you a fiver'. In our nursery all the children respond with 'Nooooo', they enjoy not letting him drive the bus!
            It isnt a long story so it keeps the children's attention throughout the story, and there isnt many words on each page which I think is also a good point.

            The layout and illustrations of the book are fab, they are simple yet interesting, and if you have some children like our children then they will look at all the tiny features going on in the pictures, such as what the pigeon is doing, his feathers etc.

            It is a book which can spark up great conversations with the children and amuse their imaginations.

            Book information:

            Author/Illustrator- Mo Willems
            40 pages
            Publisher- Walker Books Ltd, New edition 2004
            Price RRP- £6
            Amazon have it on their website for around £3.50

            There are also other books in this series, such as 'Dont let the pigeon stay up late', 'The pigeon finds a hot dog'. These sound great and I will definately be looking into reading these!

            Moral of the story- Dont let the pigeon drive the bus!!

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              12.01.2010 00:51
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              Just perfect for children and adults alike!!

              An absolutely fantastic book - full of humour and wit!!
              As a teacher I first shared this with a class of 4 - 5 year olds and they just loved it!!
              It is a story about a pigeon who is desperate to drive a bus!! The bus driver has to pop out for a while and so he asks the readers / listeners if they can look afterthe bus - oh and don't let the pigeon drive the bus (he asks the readers). Que a keen and eager pigeon just desperate to drive the bus!! He goes through several pages of persuasive ideas - each illustrated with simple, yet comical drawings! Each time the whole class would enthusiastically shout NNOOO!!! As his latest idea was put to the test!! The pigeon goes through a range of emotions - culminating in his eyes popping out of his head - with huge,expressive print to really add emotion and feeling!!
              The pigeon tries phrases like...'Give you a fiver...' 'Be your best freind...' 'Just to the corner and back...'
              Children loved the little phrases such as ...'Pigeon at the wheel!!' The story ends when the bus driver returns and checks that the pigeon didn't drive the bus!! Whilst the final page has an illustration of the pigeon thinking about driving a truck.... Just inviting children to discuss what the sequel could be!!
              I think all young children can really relate to wanting something they are unable to have / do and trying out their own individual persuasive powers!! This story really connects and relates to children adn just demands interaction!

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                22.12.2005 09:42
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                A funny, witty and really great children's book.

                I have just read a book at work that really made me giggle! In fact I’ve shown it to everyone who I’ve seen since, so I’m afraid it’s now YOUR turn. Let me tell you about Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems!

                ~~~THE AUTHOR.

                Mo Willems is a cartoonist, scriptwriter and animator, famous in the US for such wonders as Sesame Street, Sheep in the Big City and The Off-Beats. He has won six Emmy Awards and his simple, yet very expressive, cartoon style has made him a firm favourite. He is married with one daughter and lives in Brooklyn.

                ~~~THE PLOT.

                The plot of this book is very simple but very funny. It involves a bus, a bus driver, a pigeon and YOU! The bus driver leaves you in charge of his bus for a while with one simple instruction. Despite all the pleading and wheedling you must not on any account let the pigeon drive his bus. Will you hold out and be strong, or will you crack and let the pigeon take charge?

                ~~~WHAT I THOUGHT.

                I have read and read this book SO many times over the past few days and each time I have laughed and been cheered up immensely. I have read it aloud myself and also let others read it and each time the different readers have interpreted the words in their own way and made the story different.

                The way you read it changes how it sounds and sometimes the pigeon sounds pitiful and sometimes he sounds like he has lost his temper. All the time he sounds like a small child who won’t take no for an answer! When he finally realises he isn’t going to drive the bus he just has a hissy fit ~ does that sound familiar?

                Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is a book you HAVE to read aloud ~ whether it is to a child, to a room of people, to friends or just to yourself. It is impossible to read it without ending up laughing as the pigeon tries to persuade you how much he really, really ought to drive the bus! He pleads, he cajoles, he tries to trick, he bargains and he has the best cartoon drawn temper tantrum I have seen in a long time ~ all flashing red eyes and flailing limbs!


                This book is one that will get your child shouting and laughing and you will probably see a lot of childlike behaviour in the little pigeon. He uses the arguments many children (and probably adults) use to get their own way. Arguments like “my cousin Harry drives a bus almost every day”, “go on…just to the corner and back” and other classics like bribery, whining and full blown shouting. He starts off by looking innocent and playing on your emotions, then he starts getting sneaky (we could “play” at driving the bus), then he starts bargaining (he’ll pay you, he’ll just steer it, etc) and then the tantrum I mentioned. All absolutely wonderful to read!


                I can imagine children shouting at the book and enjoying trying to decide whether to vote for or against the pigeon’s plans. The illustrations are simple line drawings that are just coloured in using crayon. The pictures have a retro feel to them and I actually thought that the bus driver looks like a policeman from 60s and 70s American cartoon shows. Despite the simplicity of the pictures there is so much expression in the pigeon’s face ~ he goes through a whole range of emotions which add to the humour and are just SO true to life.

                Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is witty and has a great ending ~ which I’m NOT going to reveal! It uses every available page to tell the story; the reader is bought into the story right from the inside cover and carried along all the way through. It is fun to look at the pictures, the text is great to read and you can’t help but participate too.

                This is one of those books that children of all ages will love. I’ve just looked on Amazon and there are two more titles in the series too ~ The Pigeon Finds a Hotdog and The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too! So I can find out more about the agventures of this great little pigeon.

                I can’t wait!!! I love the little pigeon and I haven’t let him drive the bus yet!

                ~~~PRODUCT DETAILS.
                • Hardcover 40 pages (July 5, 2004)
                • Publisher: Walker Books
                • ISBN: 1844280136


                Currently on Amazon at £6.99 against a cover price of £9.99.

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              • Product Details

                When the driver leaves the bus temporarily, he gives the reader just one instruction: Don't let the pigeon drive the bus. But that pigeon tries every trick in the book to get in the driving seat. He whines, wheedles, fibs and flatters. Will you let him drive?