Picture Book - Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! - Mo Willems (Author & Illustrator)
Recommended for - Toddlers/Young Readers
More Mo Willems now, this time his Pigeon series. If you've read any of my other reviews about Mo Willems' books, you probably know where this is heading.
When we open this book, we're warned by a bus driver who has to leave for a short while not to let the pigeon in question drive the bus. Boy, does that pigeon try to convince us otherwise. Unfortunately, despite all his best attempts, the bus driver returns before we give in, and the pigeon sulks off. And we laugh all the way through it.
It really is a very grumpy pigeon, and I really do like grumpy animals. I barely touched on Mo Willem's illustrations in previous reviews, but here they add layers to the humour - he's a master at somehow getting the varying emotions of a pigeon across to us, particularly when said pigeon is peeking around the page with mischief in mind, or trying to emotionally blackmail us. I can well imagine younger children laughing and shouting at the page, telling the pigeon that he isn't allowed to drive the bus, and the grown ups laughing about how the pigeon informs us that his cousin drives one everyday, and that he bets that your child's mother (yep, YOU, all the mothers reading this!) would allow it. I'm sure for some of you, you'll see your own child in this pigeon...It's also interesting to read a book that breaks the fourth wall i.e. the characters talk directly to you.
What I love about Mo Willems is the faint ridiculousness of the plot to most of his stories - I don't know how he thinks them up, but they're brilliant concepts, and he follows through with wonderful humour for children and adults alike. Thank heavens there are plenty of them, so it'll be a long time before I run out of his material.
This is a true classic of childrens picture books, and no wonder it's been voted into several Halls of Fame.