I try not to use the word ‘wacky’ as a rule but the whole concept of this book is so random that it seems to fit. The title sums it up. At the start the bus driver asks you not to let the pigeon drive the bus and the rest of the book consists of the pigeon trying to change your mind. Wacky enough?
Why is it so good?
With this book it’s all about humour. The concept, the illustrations, the increasingly wild excuses that the pigeon offers… It’s hilarious. The deceptively simple illustrations are amazingly expressive. It’s astounding to see how much nuance a true craftsman like Willems can get from just a few lines. The pigeon’s negotiation tactics are very reminiscent of a young child’s which helps the kids relate to it and is amusing for the adults. The structure of it all as one side of a dialogue encourages great participation from the readers. This is one that has them jumping around the couch roaring laughing.
And at school?
This book is a great starting point for discussion about negotiation and persuasion. What works? What doesn’t? Why? Do you give in? Why or why not? How did the pigeon react when the negotiation doesn’t work? Is that useful? What else might work? There’s also plenty of scope to perform is as a drama with teacher or child in role. Also getting kids to come up with their own scenarios and negotiations is great fun.
And of course loud raucous reading and re readings…
Particularly suitable for younger classes. I am told this book is also very popular at preschool level.