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.


Kelly said...

There were times when I took the bus that a pigeon could have driven better than the bus driver :)

Tiffany Norris said...

I do the same thing after reading something "heavy." After The Lovely Bones, the only thing that made me smile was Knuffle Bunny!

Cipriano said...

Really great blog-posting.
And this from a guy currently knee-deep in an "Oprah" book. Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall On Your Knees.
But the balancing of intense with silly. Good point.
Whenever I want to re-enter the world of nicely silly, yet wonderful, I re-read George Saunders's, The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip!
I really want to read The Road.

maggie moran said...

MyUtopia, too funny!

Ah, Tiffany, Knuffle Bunny does evoke a fresh-out-of-the-dryer (not washer) feeling. umm :)

Thanks, Cipriano! I'll look for that title. All of the sudden, though, I feel the need to read Vonnegut. Hope you will join us in the Southern Reading Challenge.

Sam Sattler said...

Your post made me curious enough to go back and check to see what I read immediately after The Road. Turns out that it was a sports book called "The Blind Side" which is the true story of how a young black high school student had his whole life changed when he began to play football at a private high school. It was a very inspirational tale and the change of pace worked well for me.

maggie moran said...

Ah, Sam, The Blind Side could get anyone out of a reading slump. Good book!

I'm continuing the pigeon theme with a book by Andrew Blechman titled Pigeons. ;D

Inside A Book said...

I use Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus in my classroom of first graders. One of my students used the idea and wrote his own story called Don't Let the Parrot Drive the Train! What great inspiration. If you think that is funny and light - try Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner. Great sense of voice!
Any time I am heavy with the weighty matters and tones of adult books I have only to look no further than the children's section to lift my heart. Try Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larsen - a Newbery Honor book for this year.
Another great read Molokai by Alan Brennert - a hard subject but uplifting tone. Enjoy!

maggie moran said...

Wow, Inside a book, those are all great suggestions and since I've moved to the college level, haven't heard anything about them.

We will be hosting the school's day care for storytime next month and I was thinking of using DltPDtB as a theme. I'll go look for Skippyjon Jones this weekend at the library. ;D

Anonymous said...

I heard somebody else raving about this book, so I'm going to have to hunt it down and read it with my little boy, as he giggles at anything!

maggie moran said...

Do try it and report back! ;)

carmilevy said...

Thank you for this inspiration, Maggie. Our six-year-old, who has become a voracious reader, will love this. I can almost visualize his happy face as he works his way through the book.

Thankfully, we live barely 4 blocks away from the library!

maggie moran said...

Carmi, your son is so lucky to live within walking distance of a library. Just think of all the wonderful memories he will have of a building with books! You will need to report back just like HeidiJane. ;)

Nattie said...

This is one of the first books my son read aloud & we love pigeon in my house. It always gets them giggling.

maggie moran said...

Natalie, y'all might enjoy Pigeon by Blechman, too. LtPDtB is a great book to learn to read with! ;)