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Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!


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About the Author

Six-time Emmy Award Winner and Caldecott Honor recipient Mo Willems spent nine years as a script-writer and animator for "Sesame Street". With over 100 short films and television half-hours to his credit, Mo's distinctive animated films have been shown in festivals around the world and been translated into a myriad of languages. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.


PreS-Gr 2-Take a multiple award-winning book (Hyperion, 2003) written and illustrated by Mo Willems, add the author's and Jon Scieszka's voices, Peter List's animation, and Scotty Huff's lively jazz music, and the result is a tremendously captivating film. The well-loved tale of a pigeon who dreams of driving a bus, and who pleads and cajoles for the opportunity, is brought to life. The DVD opens with a choice of a Karaoke version, or one in which youngsters supply a resounding "NO!" in response to Pigeon's unrelenting bargaining to be allowed to drive the bus. Read-along subtitles, in which the words are highlighted as they are spoken, are optional. Each version opens with extra scenes of Pigeon driving a bus and delighting in the havoc he wreaks along the route. A jazzy beat sets the lively tempo of the scenes, and crazy cartoon sound effects add even more humor to Pigeon's crazy antics. The pages have been fully animated; Pigeon's expressions after each denial are priceless, and the framing of the simple bird on blank pastel pages makes his reactions even more effective. As credits roll, Pigeon and the driver discuss bus models and Pigeon's inability to actually drive. In the bonus interview, Willems offers background for the story and shows highlights of his visit with first-graders. He also teaches the children to draw Pigeon, since he thinks that books should be objects of play and doorways to creativity. Pigeon and Willems will enchant viewers.-MaryAnn Karre, Horace Mann Elementary School, Binghamton, NY Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"For a child, it's a delirious formula: all of a sudden, you're in charge of a bus... Well executed and so smartly layered." The New York Times; "This picture book demands audience participation... Readers will identify with the pigeon themselves!" The Bookseller"

The premise of this cheeky debut is charmingly absurd. When a bus driver goes on break, he asks the audience to keep an eye on his vehicle and the daft, bug-eyed pigeon who desperately wants to drive it. The pigeon then relentlessly begs readers for some time behind the wheel: "I tell you what: I'll just steer. My cousin Herb drives a bus almost every day! True story." Willems hooks his audience quickly with the pigeon-to-reader approach and minimalist cartoons. The bluish-gray bird, outlined in black crayon, expresses countless, amusing emotions through tiny shifts in eye movement or wing position. The plucky star peeks in from the left side of a page, and exhibits an array of pleading strategies against window-pane panels in mauve, salmon and willow ("I'll be your best friend," he says wide-eyed in one, and whispers behind a wing, "How 'bout I give you five bucks?"). Finally he erupts in a full-spread tantrum on an orange background, the text outlined in electric yellow ("Let me drive the bus!!!"). When the driver returns and takes off, the bird slumps dejectedly until a big red truck inspires a new round of motoring fantasies. Readers will likely find satisfaction in this whimsical show of emotions and, perhaps, a bit of self-recognition. Ages 2-6. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.

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