Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Pigeon!

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is another favorite among my students.  They absolutely love to shout no to the pigeon when he’s begging to drive the bus.  What makes this book so funny and entertaining for kids? The pictures are definitely a huge part of it.  Somehow the simplicity of the pigeon is immediately relatable to the students.  The simple lines, with the extremely expressive eye and wings, give the pigeon emotion and complete relatability.   Then there is of course, the two-page spread where the pigeon absolutely loses it.  Children love this page.  They giggle and giggle and giggle because they completely relate.  The pigeon is not getting what he wants and it’s just NOT FAIR.

The simplicity of the pictures somehow gives added power to the speech bubbles that make up the story’s text.  A number of students in my class complained that these pictures were too simplistic and not very impressive.  I would argue that it is the very simplicity of the pictures that makes them so very powerful.  The pigeon is absolutely relatable to the students. For me, the text of this book is told in very simplistic, childlike language.  The pigeon is bargaining – repeating words like please and why not and I’ll be … Therefore, for me, it is very natural that the pictures would be simplistic as well.  The simplistic lines of the illustrations match the simplistic wording of the text. 

The pigeon is drawn much like a child would draw him or herself, as a simple line drawing, not quite a stick figure, but pretty close.  The words are exactly as a child would say them – “I’ll be good.”  The bargaining has begun.  For me, the text and pictures work seamlessly together, to create a story infinitely reasonable to all children who have been in that position – trying to convince the adults in their lives that their request is a reasonable one and that they deserve for it to be granted.

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