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Pigeon #1

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

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When a bus driver takes a break from his route, a very unlikely volunteer springs up to take his place—a pigeon! But you've never met one like this before. As he pleads, wheedles, and begs his way through the book, children will love being able to answer back and decide his fate. In his hilarious picture book debut, popular cartoonist Mo Willems perfectly captures a preschooler's temper tantrum.

40 pages, Hardcover

First published April 1, 2003

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About the author

Mo Willems

269 books3,824 followers
#1 New York Times Bestselling author and illustrator Mo Willems is best known for his Caldecott Honor winning picture books Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus and Knuffle Bunny: a cautionary tale.

In addition to such picture books as Leonardo the Terrible Monster, Edwina the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct, and Time to Pee, Mo has created the Elephant and Piggie books, a series of early readers, and published You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons, an annotated cartoon journal sketched during a year-long voyage around the world in 1990-91.

The New York Times Book Review called Mo “the biggest new talent to emerge thus far in the 00's."

Mo’s work books have been translated into a myriad of languages, spawned animated shorts and theatrical musical productions, and his illustrations, wire sculpture, and carved ceramics have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the nation.

Mo began his career as a writer and animator for television, garnering 6 Emmy awards for his writing on Sesame Street, creating Nickelodeon's The Off-Beats, Cartoon Network’s Sheep in the Big City and head-writing Codename: Kids Next Door.

He lives in Brooklyn, New York with his family.

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5 stars
56,699 (58%)
4 stars
22,106 (22%)
3 stars
11,853 (12%)
2 stars
3,782 (3%)
1 star
2,020 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,287 reviews
Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,723 followers
October 16, 2019
As part of a Children's Readathon on my blog in August 2018, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems was selected as one of the award-winning books to read. It took home the Caldecott Honor Award in 2004. Since I'd just finished my children's education courses in college right before then, I never had a chance to read this one. It was a first-time experience thanks to the lovely Nina @ The Cozy Pages; she suggested this wonderful book.

A pigeon driving a bus? Well.. it's very cute and part of a whole series involving experiences the pigeon goes through. I must read more of them! In this adorable picture book, the bus driver needs to step away from the bus. He tells everyone not to let the pigeon drive the bus. As soon as the driver leaves, the pigeon tries his or her best to convince everyone to let him drive. But they won't give him, so he never gets to do it! When he jumps off in frustration, the driver returns and leaves without the poor pigeon!

What a lesson for kids. Peer pressure. Bad attitudes. Silliness. Safety. Keeping quiet. All the things to show why it's good not to 'give in' to someone just because they try to get you to do something.

If you've not seen the series or heard of them, check it out! Buy a copy for a kid you know... it's what makes a difference in their lives! 4.5 stars for this one!
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
851 reviews3,882 followers
November 13, 2015

Sorry, OKAY? I'm sure that many readers can make well-thought analyzes of this book but :

1) I kinda hate that freaking pigeon.

UGHH so annoying, I swear.

2) I must have read it wrong : I don't see the point at all except making children yell NO!! I mean, good for you, but in my experience, it's not something that hard to achieve now is it? There are books way more interesting that get the readers involved.

3) I must have seen the pictures wrong, because I thought that they were pretty awful, and HEY! They won a prize! Wait, I'm going to try once more.

... Hmm no. Still hate them. Sorry. I know people find them cute (or something).


4) My pupils' reaction : Is that it? (I tried it with 3 to 10 years old children)
Profile Image for Tim.
477 reviews660 followers
June 8, 2020
After my daughter and I worked our way through the entire epic Elephant & Piggie saga, we've decided to move on to Mo Willems other big series: The Pigeon. The first in this series is a tale we can all relate to; a tale of greed, ambition, hopes, dreams and wanting to drive a bus.

The story is simple, and delightful to children. A bus driver asks the reader (or at least the person the reader is reading to) to keep a pigeon from driving his bus. The pigeon will use all of his guile to convince you to allow it to drive the bus. The reader must be resolute and tell it no.

(This friends, is the face of the great manipulator)

My daughter loved Elephant and Piggie, and delights in this one as well... I confess I find the concept kind of amusing too. It's made better in that my daughter, takes her job of telling the pigeon no so seriously, that she always finds it frustrating when the pigeon offers friendship. She so wants to take him up on this offer, but knows that he must not be allowed to drive the bus under any circumstances.

It's a harsh world this book present. Lies must be sifted through, obstacles overcome, but if one is resolute, they can overcome this foul (fowl?) bird. 4/5 stars.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,821 reviews12.8k followers
June 24, 2018
Neo really enjoys much of what Mo Willems has to offer and this series is no exception. When the bus driver has to step away for a few minutes, he asks the reader to keep an eye on the bus. Easy work for sure, with only one golden rule: don't let the pigeon drive the bus. Well, that pigeon is as stubborn as a mule and will do anything to get the reader to allow him to drive. When nothing seems to work and pitching a fit gets him nowhere, he storms off, only to encounter another potential adventure. Neo laughed as he watched this pigeon get more and more upset, begging for the chance to break the rules. He does not see it, but I have noticed many pigeon-like attributes in my ginger!
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,235 reviews145 followers
September 22, 2023
There is joy in children’s literature even if there’s no one under 25 in your daily life. Really— we were all kids once, right? 😎

My youngest was just cast as the title character in a Mo Willems adapted musical of this book so I had to read it (somehow I missed the genius of Mr Willems when my sons were the book’s target audience)… and it was delightful in a kooky and clever way.

Reminded me a bit like “If you give a mouse a cookie” with a uniquely silly and obstinate bird as the story’s hero. Yes there are lessons in patience and reality but there’s also some funny, funny lines.

I dare you not to chuckle!! ❣️

PS— I willingly admit that Pigeon is as willful and annoying as the average 4 to 5-year-old who doesn’t get their way, but that is the beauty of the tale! In the musical, the clever lyrics of Willem’s songs offer kids the laughs they need, and parents another level of absurdity!!
Profile Image for Archit.
824 reviews3,217 followers
March 5, 2018
I read this book and thought to research some more on pigeons.
All I found was, that pigeons' population is growing leaps and bounds. They are a mess to every car owners. They live where people are there to feed them and all they do it again create a mess.

I can't imagine pigeons taking over the world and ruling over human beings. That's why it is advised not to let the pigeon drive the bus.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,340 reviews101 followers
September 29, 2017
My grandson, Mr. H, loves the pigeon books! With this one he was supposed to tell the pigeon "no" every time he asked to drive the bus. But, Mr. H is a bit of a rebel. He kept telling the pigeon that as long as he was careful he could drive the bus. 🤷‍♀️
Profile Image for Hilary .
2,264 reviews404 followers
May 20, 2020
I liked the illustrations, it was amusing for an adult to read. I read this to my children when they were small, they felt sorry for the pigeon and thought the book would have been more fun if the pigeon had taken the bus for a drive. I can see why some children would enjoy saying no to the pigeon, maybe cathartic after being told no a lot. I'd rather not encourage small children to shout no all the time, sometimes it is necessary but in my experience they don't need encouraging to say that word.

I would love to see a version called Let the Pigeon Ride the Bus, much more fun for the children to shout Go pigeon, go, put your foot down, mind that pedestrian......

Read on open library.
Profile Image for Calista.
4,071 reviews31.3k followers
July 28, 2019
I do not like the artwork of Mo Willems. He did the Elephant and Piggie series and I didn’t like that series. Now, the kids did like it. I went into this with dread, I’ll be honest.

This was very creative. This gets the reader involved. A bus driver asks us to look after his bus while he is gone and he tells us not to let the pigeon drive the bus under any circumstances. The pigeon spends the book trying to get us to let him drive the bus. He uses all the tricks that children use on adults. It’s cute and right on.

I still hate the artwork, but I enjoyed the story.

The nephew laughed at this story. He kept telling the pigeon to drive the bus and laughing about it. I would say, no, you can’t let the pigeon drive the bus. He would do it again. The niece laughed at this too. She said that this was all the stuff that her brother does when he wants something. I laughed at that and reminded her that she does that too. He gave this 4 stars and she gave this 4 stars as well. It’s obviously something kids get and I don’t, so I’m giving it more stars than I would.
Profile Image for Brent Weeks.
Author 56 books21.7k followers
September 2, 2015
The friendly bus driver entrusts the reader with not letting the pigeon drive the bus. The rest of the story is the pigeon wheedling the reader to let him drive the bus.

I really like this idea. Younger kids can just read the story and see the pigeon throwing a fit. It’s funny, the pigeon’s silly and tries all the sorts of excuses and whining that a child uses when they want anything.

BUT the text also allows you to take it further: the pigeon says, “Come on, just for 5 minutes?” You can turn to your child and say, “What do you say?” and allow her to directly engage and speak back to the book.
Profile Image for Astiazh.
171 reviews35 followers
August 12, 2019
برای اینکه به بچه ها یاد بدیم در مقابل خواسته های نابجا و غیر معقول دیگران *نه*بگویند و از این کار خجالت نکشند این کتاب واقعا لازمه.
داستان کبوتری که در نبود راننده ی اتوبوس اصرار میکنه که اون رو برونه حتی وعده هایی هم میده و هر بار میشنوه نه!نمیشه.
میتونه مثل یه بازی بشه والدین از زبان کبوتر درخواستها رو تکرار کنند و کودک هر بار بگوید نه.
تمرین نه گفتن در دوران کودکی بسیار لازم است.
Profile Image for Ronyell.
956 reviews321 followers
January 5, 2013
I have read many books by Mo Willems that have been honored with the Caldecott Honor award, which included the “Knuffle Bunny” series. Now I have recently read “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” which is actually Mo Willems’ first children’s book and is a Caldecott Honor book and it is about how the Pigeon keeps asking the audience if he could drive the bus after the bus driver leaves to run an errand. “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” is truly a memorable book that children can read over and over again!

At the beginning of the book, a bus driver comes by and tells the audience that he has to leave to do something, but before he leaves, he warns the audience, “DON’T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS!” After the bus driver leaves, the pigeon comes by and starts asking the audience if he could drive the bus.

Wow! I never would have thought that a book a pigeon just asking the audience if he can drive the bus throughout the book would be so interesting to read! Mo Willems has done an awesome job at both illustrating and writing this book about the pigeon asking everyone if he could drive the bus. What I found so interesting about this book was the fact that the only illustrations shown in this book were mainly of a blue pigeon and a bus driver in a grey and green uniform who only shows up at the beginning and end of the book, but Mo Williems did a great job at making this book extremely hilarious by giving out different expressions for the pigeon which ranges from excitement to anger. Mo Williem’s writing is extremely simple yet witty at the same time as it goes to show that you do not have to have long sentences to make a great book! What I really loved about Mo Williems’ writing is the dialogue that the Pigeon is given as it is hilarious and witty to listen to and my favorite quotes from the pigeon were, “Pigeon at the Wheel!” and “No? I never get to do anything!”

All in all, “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” is truly one unique and hilarious children’s book that every child who love witty humor will definitely get a kick out of it! I would recommend this book to children ages three and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book and the format is simple enough for small children to understand.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog
Profile Image for Sophia Triad.
2,239 reviews3,518 followers
April 17, 2018
This is one of these books that you start laughing when you read the title.
The rest of the story is still over the top cutely ridiculous.
The children must not be convinced by the devious pigeon and let it drive the bus when the bus driver takes a break.

And I have to say that this kind of books are equally enjoyable for both my child and myself!
Profile Image for Philip.
985 reviews264 followers
April 26, 2011
This was my daughter's first exposure to peer pressure. She let that bus driver know that under no circumstance would she let the pigeon drive the bus. Then, when the pigeon was begging and pleading with her, she held her ground and told that bird to back the freak off.

Well done. Keep that attitude when people are trying to talk you into buying smokes that cost $14.75 a pack.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
4,341 reviews
March 19, 2009
3.5 STARS. I thought this was a well thought out book, but I'm not sure how much of dear little Pigeon I'll be able to take. Initially, I thought he was cute if rather whiny (The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!) This time, I thought he was borderline obnoxious and manipulative. Which, of course, is the point, I think! Maybe it's to illustrate the absurdity of kids trying to get their parents to let them do things that there is absolutely no way they can/should do!

It was, perhaps, just my mood and perhaps sparked by the influx ultra-annoying and manipulative acquaintances in my life at present. Still, I'm not rushing right out for more pigeon. I will, however, be on the look out for more of Willems' other work! :-)
3 reviews3 followers
July 23, 2007
A short but snappy story from popular cartoonist Mo Willems. 'Don't Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus' is guaranteed to leave you with a big smile on your face! I am not ashamed to say that this story brought out the dramatist in me as I read it out loud to a mother and toddler group!

The best part had to be the glorious double page spread of illustrations showing all of the pigeon's techniques to convince you to let him drive the bus... "Your MUM said that I could...", "I'll give you five pounds!" (dramatic gestures and voices compulsory).

I won't give away whether the pigeon actually got his own way-you'll have to read the story to find that out! However I will say that I found this book to be a pleasant surprise; simple, modern, comical and originally designed. A definite winner with children and adults alike :D
Profile Image for Sara Bakhshi.
1,065 reviews206 followers
June 11, 2022
چشم اجازه نمیدم:))))

ولی برا بچه های تا حدود سه سال کتاب خوبیه.
کفتره رو میسپاره به خواننده که نذاری رانندگی کنه.
تمرین مسئولیت پذیری میده فکر‌کنم.
Profile Image for Brenda Cregor.
603 reviews30 followers
August 16, 2010
Someone get me some crayons and a word processor with Courier font! There is hope for me to become a published author, yet. :0)

I do not understand why this book EVER won the Caldecott Award ( for illustrations), and with all of my analytic powers have yet to understand the significance of the storyline.

Is it about emotional intelligence?
A masked attack on "bird brained" people?
Union loyalty?

I am underwhelmed.
Profile Image for Renee.
891 reviews12 followers
April 4, 2008
The illustrations and text will make children laugh hysterically as the pigeon gets more and more frustrated. This is an excellent book for demonstrating expressive reading.

Received starred reviews in SLJ and Booklist.
Profile Image for Rossy.
368 reviews14 followers
January 8, 2015
A bus driver has to leave for a moment and asks you (the reader), not to let the pigeon drive his bus.
But the pigeon really REALLY wants to drive the bus... and he tries to convince you, he pleads, he begs, will he finally drive it?
Hysterical, I loved the pigeon. Simple yet adorable book.
Profile Image for Maggie Becker.
18 reviews
October 11, 2017
This book was absolutely adorable! The words were simple and extremely easy to follow. The rhythm of the entire book made it fun to flip the pages and keep up with the pigeons antics. On top of it, the illustrations were simple, which I enjoyed. Sometimes little detail is the best detail. I would definitely read this again and recommend it to others!
Profile Image for Tyreese.
39 reviews4 followers
December 31, 2015
My all time favorite children's book in the world! The illustrations, the simple writing, everything about this book is amazing. It really brought me back to my childhood.. 5 stars!! ❤️❤️❤️
Profile Image for mads ☽.
93 reviews26 followers
September 7, 2022
ppl realy out here giving this 1 star.. don’t hate on my childhood pigeon
Profile Image for Fahim.
245 reviews101 followers
October 25, 2022
اینکه مخاطب التماس‌های کبوتره بودم، بامزه بود🤭
Profile Image for Teri-K.
2,109 reviews47 followers
August 19, 2016
You practically have to tie my six year old grandson to a chair to read a story to him. Video games he loves, books not so much. So my hopes weren't high when I brought this book home from the library. I managed to read it to him once last night. He joined right in to the spirit of the book, telling the pigeon 'No' over and over. Then he asked to read it three more times. Then more at bedtime. He also asked if we had to return this one or could we keep it? This morning he talked about writing a book called "Don't let the pigeon sleep in your bed". A success at last.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 4,287 reviews

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