Thursday, April 12, 2007

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (copy)

After reading a tough, thought-provoking book, such as The Road by Cormac McCarthy, it is hard to pick up another book to read. For one thing, one compares everything read after with so called uber-book. Can you imagine? I’ve picked up a total of seven books this week and none appeal to my mood. I would read two chapters and go, “Ugh!” Not because the books were bad reads; rather, they didn’t measure up to McCarthy’s style.

Does one need to follow a depressing book with another? Is this a vicious cycle that cannot be broken? Maybe this is the reason most of Oprah’s book-club selections are slightly depressing. Is one drawn into a pattern of reading from whence there is no escape?

I found one way to snap out of the cycle. Read something that is on the opposite spectrum from said book. In this case I need to fight depressing with rib-tickling humor.

It may be only 32 pages and contain 164 words, but it is so silly my next read did the trick. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems was a 2004 Caldecott Honor book. The word honor is designated for those books which do not win the award, but are considered “worthy of attention.” The actual award that year went to a book which displayed the Twin Towers as a background.

Pigeon represents the little kid in all of us, whom dies to do something, only because he is instructed not to do it. We meet the bus driver only for a brief second, but in that time frame he reminds us not to let the pigeon drive the bus. Oh, and now the pigeon really wants to drive the bus.

He begs, he pleads, he hops on one foot, but we must resist his charm. He demonstrates his capable ability, he relates how his cousin drove a bus once, and still we must say no. Yes, the pigeon has many tricks and we as readers must be the bad guys and not let him have his way. Any five-year-old can relate to this universal human trait.

This is a perfect read-aloud to any child or grand-child under the age of seven. It is so easy even an eight year old could read it to their younger siblings. All an adult needs to do is drive 10 to 20 minutes to a library. Spend five minutes hunting down the book. Spend another five minutes finding the required library card; then return home where uncontrollable giggles will spout. Timeless.