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Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Hardcover – 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 689 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

PreS. In his winning debut, Willems finds the preschooler in a pigeon: a cajoling, tantrum-throwing, irresistible bird. "I've got to leave for a little while," says a uniformed bus driver as he strolls off the opening pages. "I thought he'd never leave," says the big-eyed pigeon as he marches onto the next spread and begins his campaign to drive the bus. His tactics, addressed to an unseen audience, are many: he reasons ("I tell you what: I'll just steer"); he whines ("I never get to do anything!"); he's creative ("Let's play 'Drive the Bus'! I'll go first"); he bargains ("C'mon! Just once around the block!"). Finally he erupts in a feather-flying tantrum, followed by a drooping sulk that ends only when a truck arrives, and new road fantasies begin. Librarians may struggle with the endpapers, which contain important story content, but the design is refreshingly minimal, focusing always on the pigeon; he's the only image on nearly every earth-toned spread. Willems is a professional animator, and each page has the feel of a perfectly frozen frame of cartoon footage--action, remarkable expression, and wild humor captured with just a few lines. Preschoolers will howl over the pigeon's dramatics, even as they recognize that he wheedles, blows up, and yearns to be powerful just like they do. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-A brilliantly simple book that is absolutely true to life, as anyone who interacts with an obdurate three-year-old can attest. The bus driver has to leave for a while, and he makes one request of readers: "Don't let the pigeon drive the bus." It's the height of common sense, but the driver clearly knows this determined pigeon and readers do not-yet. "Hey, can I drive the bus?" asks the bird, at first all sweet reason, and then, having clearly been told no by readers, he begins his ever-escalating, increasingly silly bargaining. "I tell you what: I'll just steer," and "I never get to do anything," then "No fair! I bet your mom would let me." In a wonderfully expressive spread, the pigeon finally loses it, and, feathers flying and eyeballs popping, screams "LET ME DRIVE THE BUS!!!" in huge, scratchy, black-and-yellow capital letters. The driver returns, and the pigeon leaves in a funk-until he spies a huge tractor trailer, and dares to dream again. Like David Shannon's No, David (Scholastic, 1998), Pigeon is an unflinching and hilarious look at a child's potential for mischief. In a plain palette, with childishly elemental line drawings, Willems has captured the essence of unreasonableness in the very young. The genius of this book is that the very young will actually recognize themselves in it.
Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children; First Edition 9th Printing edition (2003)
  • ASIN: B000EGF0Q4
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 9.1 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (689 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,221,637 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Because this book won a 2003 Caldecott Honor, you're probably going to hear a lot of people complaining about it. "Oh the art isn't beautiful". "Oh my four-year-old child could've drawn it". "Oh it isn't Caldecott-worthy" (whatever that may mean). The fact of the matter is, I was a little shocked too. This book won a Caldecott honor? The one where an amusing pigeon tries every bit of persuasion he can think of to wheedle himself into the driving seat of a bus? Now I've loved this book since it was first published. When I first read it I laughed out loud. Quick! Recite the children's books you love that make you laugh out loud! Not so easy to think of, are they? So I've returned to this little treasure in the hopes of discovering why that Caldecott nominating committee loved this book as much as my pretty self. Could it have been the artwork? Deceptively simple is the best way to describe its style. The pigeon isn't exactly a Michaelangelo. He's drawn with thick black lines, shaded in with blue and yellow. But has a Michaelangelo ever really amused you? Look a little closer at this pigeon and you realize the book's genius. His oversized eyeballs exquisitely display every emotion possible. From sweet and innocent to consumed with an all-encompassing rage. The pages wherein the pigeon completely freaks out and screams at the top of his lungs, "LET ME DRIVE THE BUS!!!" is the temper tantrum of a two-year-old rendered into an aviary form.
But do kids like this book? Well, ladies and gentlemen, the answer is yes. In fact, clever readers let the kids hearing this tale say, "NO!" every time the pigeon tries a new tactic. When the pigeon says, "Please", the kids say no. When the pigeon says, "I tell you what: I'll just steer", the kids say no.
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Format: Hardcover
Truly a masterpiece! After many readings, this story still makes me laugh out loud. With only a few simple lines and a minimal amount of dialouge, Mo Willems has created a memorable character in this coniving pigeon who will do anything to drive a bus.
The local librarian told me that this book was a big hit at story hour, with the children actively telling the pigeon "No! You can't drive the bus!" Maybe I still have the mind set of a preschooler, because I found it just as entertaining, so much so that my best friend gave it to me for my 43rd birthday. In my opinion, it's one of the best children's books of the year.
True story.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My four-year-old has gone totally gah-gah over this book (we've read it ever night for the past two weeks since checking it out at the library)! Most of the picture books she's attracted to have brightly colored, detailed illustrations. In contrast, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus utilizes simple line drawings (with a hip 60's flair) in light, cool-toned hues. Initially, I thought the rather plain presentation might not hold my daughters interest, but just the opposite has proved to be true -- rather than spreading her attention all over the page, she concentrates on the subject at hand (usually the pigeon, sometimes the bus driver) and what he is saying. She laughs hysterically at the way in which the pigeon presents his various arguments for driving the bus. She says, "Mom, he sounds just like me when I try to talk you into letting me do things that you say I'm not old enough to do yet." She also says she likes how the pigeon is always looking at us when he talks.

This is a book adult readers will enjoy every bit as much as the young listeners they're reading to.
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Format: Hardcover
This ridiculous book is the best way I know to teach a child that sometimes it's important to say no, over and over and over again. Teaching a kid how to say no, and how to recognize when somebody else is manipulating you to try and get you to say yes, is one of the most valuable social lessons possible for anyone. (This book strikes me as a better way to prevent sexual molestation and drug abuse than any program I've ever seen put forward by child advocate groups.) Great for older children as well as preschoolers, not to mention adults. Don't miss it.
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Format: Hardcover
The title of this book begs the reader to open it and find out more about this enterprising pigeon and his desire to drive a bus. I couldn't stop laughing as I read this book and then again when I focused on the illustrations. I loved the expressions on the pigeon's face and the way the pigeon behaved in, at times, a cheeky fashion (peeking around the page to see if the bus driver was gone yet). The pigeon definitely reminded me of all of the times children beg their parents to do something. I'm sure children will just LOVE this book, it is already my favorite!
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Format: Hardcover
This book begins with a bus driver telling the reader not to allow the pigeon to drive his bus while he steps away. The rest of the pages are of a pigeon asking nicely to drive it, then he says "I'll give you five bucks" "I bet your mom would let me" etc, before finally throwing what appears to be a massive temper tantrum when he doesn't get to -I included pics for you. It randomly ends with the bus driver returning, driving his bus away, and then the pigeon seeing a big truck and dreaming of driving it. That is literally the Whole. Entire. Book. Sorry for spoiling it, but my goal is to spare you if you're looking for a cute book for your kids or as a gift. This one has zero good examples for children and is very confusing!
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