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Don't let the pigeon drive the bus: children's books ages 4-12 Suitable for children's growth

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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 presch 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.


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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 presch 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.

30 review for Don't let the pigeon drive the bus: children's books ages 4-12 Suitable for children's growth

  1. 5 out of 5

    James

    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 p 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!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

    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 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). *shrugs* 4) My pupils' reaction : Is that it? (I tried it with 3 to 10 years old children)

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    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 yo 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    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 adventu 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!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Archit

    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. 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.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cyndi

    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. 🤷‍♀️ 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. 🤷‍♀️

  7. 4 out of 5

    Hilary

    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 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.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Brent Weeks

    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 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.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Calista

    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 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.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Ronyell

    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 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

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sophia Triad

    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!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    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 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! :-)

  13. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    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. 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.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    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!" ( 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

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    My 6-year old nephew is learning English, and I bet he's going to love this book... Or not, because it's too close to home... He's just like that little pigeon, all polite and begging when he wants something, and if you say 'no', he'll explode... But he's a darling, really. Anyways, great book to read out loud to little kids. My 6-year old nephew is learning English, and I bet he's going to love this book... Or not, because it's too close to home... He's just like that little pigeon, all polite and begging when he wants something, and if you say 'no', he'll explode... But he's a darling, really. Anyways, great book to read out loud to little kids.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Brenda Cregor

    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. 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.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rossy

    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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Becker

    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!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tyreese

    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!! ❤️❤️❤️ 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!! ❤️❤️❤️

  21. 4 out of 5

    Teri-K

    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 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.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Caterina

    This strange, funny book -- essentially about a pigeon (read: child) having a tantrum when s/he can't get what s/he thinks she wants -- is the most popular book in the library with young children, according to my community librarian. The fact that a pigeon driving a bus is so random and ludicrous pushes this book from good to great. Plus the minimal yet very expressive drawings of the wheedling, bargaining, begging pigeon with one big round eye. Indirectly, this is also a lesson for the babysitt This strange, funny book -- essentially about a pigeon (read: child) having a tantrum when s/he can't get what s/he thinks she wants -- is the most popular book in the library with young children, according to my community librarian. The fact that a pigeon driving a bus is so random and ludicrous pushes this book from good to great. Plus the minimal yet very expressive drawings of the wheedling, bargaining, begging pigeon with one big round eye. Indirectly, this is also a lesson for the babysitter...

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chance Lee

    Willems takes advantage of every page in this story of a pigeon who really really (really) wants to drive the bus. Every page -- the title page, the endpapers. Even the copyright page says "all rights reserved for humans, not pigeons." The artwork is nice, a combination of thick black outlines textured as if drawn with a colored pencil, and smooth ink filling the outlines. Minimalistic, but gets the job done. Unlike pigeon (who doesn't get to drive the bus). Willems takes advantage of every page in this story of a pigeon who really really (really) wants to drive the bus. Every page -- the title page, the endpapers. Even the copyright page says "all rights reserved for humans, not pigeons." The artwork is nice, a combination of thick black outlines textured as if drawn with a colored pencil, and smooth ink filling the outlines. Minimalistic, but gets the job done. Unlike pigeon (who doesn't get to drive the bus).

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

    When I first saw this book, I thought it looked dumb. I was so wrong! It is hands-down the funniest, most enjoyable book for Zoe and me to read together. She laughs hysterically at the pigeon's pleading and his spiral into crazy over wanting to drive the bus. Highly recommend. When I first saw this book, I thought it looked dumb. I was so wrong! It is hands-down the funniest, most enjoyable book for Zoe and me to read together. She laughs hysterically at the pigeon's pleading and his spiral into crazy over wanting to drive the bus. Highly recommend.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! is an excellent example of a dialogue-driven children's book. You can't help but smile as the pigeon in question pleads his case for taking the giant vehicle around the block, perhaps because his reasonings are so similar to that of young kids' arguing style. The double-page, irreverent illustrations only add to the comedy of the pigeon's situation. A must for read-alouds in the primary grades. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! is an excellent example of a dialogue-driven children's book. You can't help but smile as the pigeon in question pleads his case for taking the giant vehicle around the block, perhaps because his reasonings are so similar to that of young kids' arguing style. The double-page, irreverent illustrations only add to the comedy of the pigeon's situation. A must for read-alouds in the primary grades.

  26. 4 out of 5

    midnightfaerie

    Another wonderful Mo Willems book, that got the whole family involved. I've started reading to the kids over some meals, breakfast with cereal is a favorite one. It's gotten so that even one of my 2 yr old twins, Cole, has been asking me to read as soon as the cereal comes out. Willems is high on our list of favorites and this one was also read several times. Great illustrations and concept, it could almost be labeled a level 1 book for a beginner reader. Another wonderful Mo Willems book, that got the whole family involved. I've started reading to the kids over some meals, breakfast with cereal is a favorite one. It's gotten so that even one of my 2 yr old twins, Cole, has been asking me to read as soon as the cereal comes out. Willems is high on our list of favorites and this one was also read several times. Great illustrations and concept, it could almost be labeled a level 1 book for a beginner reader.

  27. 5 out of 5

    SheAintGotNoShoes

    A++++++

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    So funny. My son and I were both laughing throughout. I mean, his cousin Herb drives a bus, so Pigeon should totally be allowed to!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Madman Reads & Rocks

    Why would a pigeon want to drive a bus???

  30. 5 out of 5

    Maryam

    I bought this book for my niece and ended up loving it so much that i decided to keep this copy with myself and buy another for her. Growing up, i had the habit of accepting requests and desires of other people for keeping their hearts even if i didn't feel like it, even now i can't properly deny someone, so I believe if i could read this in my childhood it would have been a big help. I recommend this for sure. I bought this book for my niece and ended up loving it so much that i decided to keep this copy with myself and buy another for her. Growing up, i had the habit of accepting requests and desires of other people for keeping their hearts even if i didn't feel like it, even now i can't properly deny someone, so I believe if i could read this in my childhood it would have been a big help. I recommend this for sure.

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