Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

Today on our drive home from school, Jake springs the following on me:

“Mom, do you know what amazing super power pigeons have?”

“You got me.  What amazing super power do pigeons have?”

“They can find their way home from anywhere!”

“Oh yes, I think that’s your above average pigeon.”

“And they feed their babies milk.”

Why is this child full of unsettlingly true animal facts?

Speaking of pigeons, it seems I still have not caught-up on my 25 Days of Book Reviews… remind me never to self-impose holiday homework again.  But it brings me to one of my favorite children’s authors, Mo Willems.  I originally found his book Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs and fell in love.  It’s veiled sarcasm and creative take on a classic keep me coming back, bedtime after bedtime.

So when I read a number of glowing reviews about the creativity of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, I was intrigued.  It also had one of those pretty silver “Caldecott Honor” awards on the cover… and you know how much I love Olympic medals.

In a nutshell: The story is about a bus driver that breaks down the fourth wall, Ferris Bueller style, and tells you not to let the pigeon drive the bus.  Then this cheeky blue pigeon goes through every preschool tactic known to parentkind in an attempt to gain access to the steering wheel.  He asks casually, he asks courteously, he promises to be careful, he drops back to a smaller request, he name drops, he sulks, he bulldozes, he pouts, he distracts, he negotiates, he sweet talks, he bribes, he diminishes, he appeals to a higher power… and then he has an all out feather-flying, eyeball-popping temper tantrum meltdown.

The bus driver returns and the pigeon sets his sites on a greater goal… a semi truck.

In summary, I agree that it’s a creative little ditty… and I finally know who the blue pigeon is that is mysteriously hiding in the dinosaur cookie jar in my favorite Goldilocks book.  That said, the story is too simple for the sophisticated crowd of fowl-experts at my house.  Yes kids love to tell the pigeon “no” on every page (and this blog is clearly pro-no), but we seem to have discovered this book too late.  Despite the age recommendation of 2-6, I’d downgrade that to 0-2.

Families can talk about: How old do you have to be to drive a real car, or a real bus?  Why?  Does the pigeon want to drive for real or just pretend?  When I let you drive my car, is it for real or just pretend?  Clearly this pigeon is having a major tantrum— what should be his consequences?  How do you calm yourself down before you go crazy?  Assuming you actually do.  Do you think he’s got milk?


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