DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS!
Mo Willems, . . Hyperion, $12.99 (36pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-1988-1
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 ("
Reviewed on: 02/10/2003
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