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If you are ever handed the chance to see Mo Willems speak in person, run (do not walk) to the event. Not only does Mr. Willems win the Sexiest-Children's-Book-Illustrator-of-the-Year-Award time and time again (not a huge feat in a field dominated by the likes of deceased fellows like William Steig) but he's a hoot to boot. When I had the chance to see Mr. Willems speak at Book Fest in New York City, the topic of conversation during the question and answer session turned invariably to his most popular creation of them all: The pigeon. The pigeon is our Id. He's that voice that screams loudly in your head whenever someone denies you something you want, no matter how unreasonable it might be. Mr. Willems mentioned at one point that he's been receiving potential pigeon titles for his books over the years. My personal favorite? Don't Let the Pigeon Audit Your Neighbor. That book has yet to come out (can't you just see him screaming out, "LET ME SEE YOUR W-2 FORMS!!!, in a feathery rage?) but something just as good has. "Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!" is already bound to join the ranks of such other bedtime classics as "10 Minutes to Bedtime", by Peggy Rathmann and Lauren Child's, "I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go To Bed" in the pantheon of sleepy-time literature.

Okay, you know the drill. Here's Mr. Bus Driver from "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus", who apparently lives with this difficult bird. Wearing classic nightcap and carrying a candle (candles and nightcaps never go out of style) he urges the reader not to let the pigeon stay up late while he goes to brush his teeth. But the pigeon knows what to expect and he comes out swinging with a, "First of all, I'm not even tired!". When that doesn't work he has a whole list of carefully prepared excuses for not going to bed. My personal favorite? The bird sits pensively on the ground, his wings clasped in front and his eyes heavenward as he says, "We could count the stars!". Unfortunately for him, it is clear that he's yawning quite a bit. So here comes the arsenal of excuses! Everything from "Can I have a glass of water?" to "My bunny wants to stay up too! You can't say `No' to a bunny, can you?". Just the same, arguing can be tiring work. By the end the pigeon is asleep and the bus driver is congratulating you on your "great work".

I've never known the backgrounds in a pigeon book to be quite as important as they are here. At the beginning of the story they're all pinks and lemons. Then, as the night comes on, the pigeon collapses in exhaustion and it becomes blues, navys, and dark violets. Of course, there's a world of different between telling the pigeon "NO!" when he wants to drive a bus and telling the pigeon "NO!" when he wants to stay up late. For some reason it feels like the reader has a lot less control over the situation. In his first book the pigeon was asking permission (apparently hopping on the bus and hitting the gas was just not an option). In this book you almost wonder why he's bothering to debate his case. I mean, he's up isn't he? It's not as if the reader can grab him and stuff him in a bed (though I envision plenty of interactive CD-ROM games that the merchandizing-friendly Willems might do well to consider).

Willems once said that the pigeon makes an appearance in every book he does (with the possible exception of "Time To Pee" and "Time to Say Please"). How apt then that in this particular book the cameo is by fellow Willems award-winning character Knuffle Bunny. Though never mentioned by name, KB becomes the pigeon's faithful bedtime buddy. The last image in the book is of fowl and bunny chowing down in a dream of a hillside of hot dogs. Perhaps this is the hot dog party alluded to earlier in the book. Willems makes the mighty odd choice of giving Knuffle Bunny teeth in this picture, giving the normally floppity and expressionless stuffed animal an almost feral expression. It's an odd choice, to say the least.

I, for one, was pleased at the pigeon's return to form. Not that I had anything against his board books or "The Pigeon Eats a Hot Dog". I just felt he was at his strongest when he was at his worst. And the worst is in full flower with "Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late", I can tell you. One person I showed this book to was not pleased at all with this latest pigeon escapade, of course. To her mind, the pigeon has sold out. He's just doing the same darned thing he did before, but with a slightly different background. I disagree. I see this book as a second coming of a sort. It's funny, it's silly, and it subtly combines the author's trademark child-friendly/adult friendly humor. Also, if you object to this book then you have probably never encountered a teary five-year-old who has just been informed that ALL the pigeon books are currently checked out of the library. THAT'S fun! Is there a need for this book? There is always a need for a new pigeon book. You may fear that your tots will learn new excuses for avoiding beddy-bye from this sneaky avian, but even they can't help but notice that in the end bedtime always wins out. Consider this a must-have of the finest pedigree.
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VINE VOICEon March 5, 2006
Don't be left out on the sidewalk or on your local inner-city equestrian statue...just don't be left out! The Pigeon books are always great fun. Pigeon returns to make more demands, while "the man" is always keeping him down. Mo Willems creator of "DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS," "PIGEON FINDS A HOT DOG" and " Knuffle BUNNY" does it again!

Willems combines his flair for simplistic childlike design, with the preschooler's stubbornness via the PIGEON. The Pigeon demands and fumes building to a crescendo, upon which his delivers his obligatory RANT, the climax of the Pigeon Book formula (see the aforementioned books). This "Pigeon" pattern provides satisfactory continuity for preschool listeners and early readers.

I highly recommend ANY of the PIGEON books! My children insist on so many re-readings they could easily deliver performances of the stories without the books. Willems clearly connects to the young through this determined character, in a manner that rivals Dr. Seuss himself, without the flowery faux words (no offense Doc, you know I luv ya). As it is with all great children's books the reader can easily see themselves in the PIGEON.

Even a cameo by Knuffle Bunny!
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on April 11, 2006
Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, Mo Willems' 3rd book dedicated to the pesty pigeon, is a delightful story about Pigeon trying to convince the reader to let him stay up late.

My four-year old daughter and I are both major Pigeon fans, so we were delighted when we discovered that there was a new Pigeon book on the shelves! I ran out to buy the book and we read it together as soon as we got home. She knows Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog (my favorite) and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (her favorite) by heart because we read them ALL the time. She helped me read the first time and by the third time, she had most of it down.

I'm also a pre-K teacher, and my students just LOVE the Pigeon books. They aren't as familiar with the stories as my daughter, but they really

Mo Willems is truly a genius in his field...he knows his audience (young children and the adults who are reading to them) and his stories appeal to both young and old alike. The cartoon drawings, though "simple", are absolutely perfect. Young children are easily able to distinguish Pigeon's emotions because of his facial expressions and "body language" (or "feather language"?)...and soon they begin to guess what comes next in the story simply by studying the pictures. And the dialogue is absolutely hilarious. At one point, when Pigeon goeson his usual tirade (toward the end of each story), he tries to convince the reader to let him stay up by saying that pigeons don't need much sleep and that it is actually daytime in China. HA!

Mo Willems does not disappoint with his newest Pigeon story. I can't wait to find out what Pigeon will say and do in Willem's next Pigeon book (there was recently a cover contest for his next book, so I am fairly certain that it will be about Pigeon finding a job as the winning cover dealt with that subject)!

This book is a necessary addition to any young child's library! It's one of our favorites for sure!
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on June 13, 2006
Once again, the Pigeon has returned. And now it's time for bed. But what's this? The Pigeon isn't tired and wants to stay up late. Young readers are certain to be delighted by the Pigeon's continued antics. This is another story that children will ask for again and again. And as you reread this soon to be classic story, kids will delight in telling the Pigeon the same phrase they hear over and over again, "No" (as in, "No, you may not stay up late"). Kids will giggle as the Pigeon finds every excuse (perhaps excuses they have already tried) in an attempt to stay up a little later! Finally, they will smile as they say "Goodnight" to the Pigeon who dreams with his Knuffle Bunny.
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on November 12, 2006
This book is perfect for preschool aged kids (mine are 2 and 4). We got this book about a month ago and when I tell the children to "go pick a bedtime book", this one has been their choice EVERY night. They recite the adorable sayings before I even read the page. I highly recommend this book.
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on July 19, 2006
It was love at first sight. After finding Mo Willems' "Don't Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus," my son was hooked. He couldn't wait to read it by himself.

The name Mo Willems doesn't ring a bell? He is a 6 time emmy award winner for his work as a scriptwriter and filmmaker at PBS' Sesame Street. And he head-wrote the first four seasons of Codename: Kids Next Door.

"Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late" lovingly teaches children to laugh at themselves and to be good role models. I highly recommend purchasing the whole series. We can't wait for the next book!
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on January 11, 2007
Pigeon is every little kid and the little kid inside every adult. Pigeon is cheeky, controlling, impetuous, possessive, emotional and more. In fact, a pretty normal, child-like being. Our 2 year old granddaughter loves talking back to Pigeon and telling Pigeon what to do. Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late is a great interactive experience for the reader as well as the listener.
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on April 28, 2006
Both parents and kids will love this book. The pigeon's rationalizations are hilarious if not, in many cases, familiar. Pay attention to his body language, too--very expressive, and in perfect harmony with the dialogue. My three year old loves this book so much that she's got it memorized.
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on June 26, 2006
The words in this book could have come out of the mouths of anyone's toddler. The illustration is simple yet supports the text perfectly. Enjoyable for kids and parents. A real gem.
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on February 7, 2007
Thank you to Mo Willems, Trixie and of course PIGEON! Upon reading "don't let the pigeon drive the bus" he gave my children a voice to stand up for what was appropriate and right. No matter how cute and charming the little guy is, the kids look forward to telling him "NO'. With all the joy our entire family gets from the "...bus" we had to buy this one. Reading this as a family at bedtime actually helped us get bedtime a little more under control. Since the kids were given the authority to make pigeon go to bed, they seem to have gained an understanding of why it is important for them to do the same. Absolutely BRILLIANT in it's simplicity!
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