Oh My Gosh you guys!! Mo Willems came out with a new Pigeon book this summer. And I ordered it. And I got to read it to my classes the first day. And the fifth graders loved it even more than Kindergartners. It was amazing!!
Older kids, fifth graders were raised on Mo Willems. If not the Elephant and Piggie books…most definitely on the popular Pigeon books! In 2003 Mo wrote the first Pigeon book, the instant classic “Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus,”a masterpiece of children’s lit. Kids love the sassy pigeon, and let’s face it, they are super fun to read aloud.
In the new book, Pigeon has to go to school. He doesn’t want to. As I read it a Kindergartner sympathized, “I didn’t want to go to school. But my dad said I had to.” She was pretty cheerful though, so I guess she had a good day anyway.
Pigeon does not want to go to school. He tries everything he can to convince the reader that he does not need to go. He knows everything, “go on ask” he challenges. My students light up and call out a chorus of questions. “What is 2+2?” “What is one-hundred-billion times sixty-seven?” “How much does the Earth weigh?” Of course pigeon cannot answer and…. this. is. funny.
And it is funny when Pigeon is afraid he will learn so much that his head will pop off. And it is funny when he wonders how he can read with one big eye. And the kids cry out enthusiastically when he wonders where he can go to learn about school… where he can practice working with friends and being on a playground. “The SCHOOL Pigeon, you can do that at a SCHOOOOL” they call out.
Finally (big spoiler here), the magic happens. This is where you can tell those kids who have a real relationship with the Pigeon books. Finally, Pigeon wonders how he will get to school? The kids call out ideas. “Fly!” “Have your Mom drive you!”
“Take the bus…. Wait??!! The bus?” And they squeal, because they get it. And for those that don’t get it? I show them Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus, and then they get it, so it is pretty much win-win.
It is pretty joyful I tell you. And it is why I love my job. Thank you Mo Willems for a great start to our school year!