Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Walker Books, 2023
40pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99
The pigeon dreams of driving the bus, so when the driver steps out for a break he thinks this will be his chance. But the bus driver is aware of the pigeon’s plan and tells the reader not to let the pigeon drive the bus. And so begins a conversation between the pigeon and the reader as the pigeon begs, pleads, cajoles and even attempts to bribe the reader into letting him behind the wheel.
The action is carried along entirely in the pigeon’s appeals but it is clearly intended that the young child put on the “parent’s” hat to say no, much like a role-reversal of when they themselves want something and the parent has to withstand all the child’s reasoning and promises, making it an interactive read that is lots of fun. Not only can they stretch their imaginations to suggest why the pigeon shouldn’t drive the bus but they can put themselves in the pigeon’s place and also think of ways they might use to get their own way. The only issue is, that in the child’s denials to the pigeon, the parent might hear themselves echoed! Children learn what they live!
This 20th anniversary edition of what was Mo Willems’ first picture book marks a rare milestone for children’s picture books and young readers will be thrilled that it went on to spark an entire series that they can enjoy – both the stories and being the power-broker.