Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

dont let the pigeon drive the bus book cover

Written by: Mo Willems


Illustrated by: Mo Willems


Age Range: 3 and up


Publisher: Hyperion


ISBN: 0-7868-1988-X


Awards: Caldecott Honor


“Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” is a story about a commercial bus driver who has to leave for a short time. He leaves the bus under the care of the reader. The bus driver has one request: Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus!

The pigeon is the most clever bird of his kind, in my opinion. It tries very hard to persuade the reader to let him drive the bus. The pigeon has a cousin Herb that drives a bus all the time! (or does he…) Ultimately, the bus driver returns and the pigeon does not get its wish.

The story ends with the pigeon seeing a red semi-trailer truck drive by and begins dreaming about driving it one day.


I appreciate the simplicity of the illustrations. The focus is about reading the emotions of the pigeon, which I liked. It’s a simple read that younger kids can enjoy along with you.

The book interacts with the readers of the story. The pigeon is speaking directly to you and forces you to interact with the story. Really cool concept that engaged my kids.

This book shows your kids what peer pressure can look like. A helpful conversation about it can arise after reading the book. I think it’s an important thing for kids to recognize and wrap their heads around.

While reading the book with my kids, the book has a goal of prompting them to say “No!” to the pigeon. My kids already have a mastery level of yelling “No!” so I found this to be relatively unuseful. It’s good that the story prompts kids to have a response, but maybe not the same prompt over and over again.

The pigeon whines when he doesn’t get what he wants. Again, something my kids have mastery of already. The book didn’t model a different way to react when someone doesn’t get something they want. Missed opportunity there, in my opinion.

Re-read Value

Here’s the metric I use: When you’re a parent and your child asks to read this book 3 or more days in a row, how likely are you to want to jump head first through a wall?

It’s a short book, which tends to help with re-read value (though not always!). The book is engaging and your kids will have fun reading it. I’m torn on this one. Part of me really enjoys the book but if my kids have had a rough day, hearing them yell “No!” again isn’t necessarily ideal. So, re-read value is situational on this one.

Final Thoughts

It’s a short, fun book that your kids are sure to enjoy. The pigeon is fun to interact with and makes the story interesting and engaging. I really do think you and your family will enjoy the story. Give it a read and let me know what you think!

I have many more children’s book reviews for you, as well as some of my own projects. Enjoy!