I’ve heard it said many times that children learn to love books by reading with the adults in their lives. I would argue that – while that’s certainly a huge piece of the puzzle – an equally large piece of that puzzle is finding books that capture their imaginations and make them want to read more. All children’s books simply are not created equal, so it’s always a pleasure to find an author who seems to intuitively understand children and what they like. Mo Willems is definitely one of those authors, and his “Pigeon” books are some of the most entertaining children’s reads available today.
At this point, you might be asking “What is the pigeon?” Well, it’s not really “What is the pigeon?” Rather, it’s “Who is ‘The Pigeon?'” The Pigeon is the star character in a series of books by Mo Willems about a mischievous pigeon destined for trouble.
Children love the creative and devious mind of The Pigeon, probably because The Pigeon thinks like they do! In one book, a bus driver has to leave his bus and asks the reader to keep an eye on it for him while he’s gone and – above all – “Don’t Let Pigeon Drive the Bus!” In another book, it’s bedtime and The Pigeon quickly comes up with 101 reasons not to go to bed, when clearly he’s tired. Parents of creative children will recognize some of these night-time excuses, I’m afraid! And in yet another book, The Pigeon wants a puppy but clearly hasn’t the slightest idea how to properly care for one. As a result, he comes up with a list of bizarre reasons he wants a puppy and how he’ll care for his new pet, which kids realize immediately are all inappropriate ways to care for a puppy.
What seems to make these books so much fun for kids is that they talk directly to the children. That is to say that the characters seem to come directly out of the book and interact with the reader, prompting the children to respond back to the characters in the book. As crazy as it sounds, somehow it just works.
These books are targeted for preschoolers through the first few years of elementary school, and are available in the library in traditional format.
For more information about these books or the author, visit the author’s website at http://www.mowillems.com/.
~ Catherine H. Armstrong