Originally created 06/27/04

Pigeon is back in this delightful book



After his disappointing attempt in 2003 to persuade readers to let him drive a bus, Pigeon returns to the literary scene. I assume he flew or hitchhiked.

His first adventure, chronicled in words and illustrations by Mo Willems, garnered a 2004 Caldecott Honor Award. You remember Pigeon.

He's the simply drawn -- think Harold and the Purple Crayon -- wheedling lead character from Don't Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus! who talks directly to readers, pleading to get behind the wheel. Why does Pigeon want to drive a bus? Why does the driver address readers directly?

"Listen, I've got to leave for a little while, so can you watch things for me until I get back? Thanks. Oh, and remember: Don't let the pigeon drive bus."

The first book is an oddball charmer that manages to suspend all disbelief, as only a good story can. I mean, if you think about it ...Why does Pigeon want to drive that bus? And why does the bus driver think we can control the determined bird? Nevermind the analysis. The book works because it's so well-crafted that readers drop right into the story and never look back.

In this new companion tale, The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! (Hyperion, $12.99; ages 2 to 6), Pigeon discovers a hot dog and can hardly wait to shove the whole thing into his beak. Just as he's about to make the first chomp, Duckling steps onto the edge of the page. "I've never had a hot dog before ... What do they taste like?"

This first -- seemingly innocuous exchange - sets up an avian battle of wits. Can Duckling outsmart Pigeon and munch on the treat? Young readers will likely change their guesses from page to page, and that's what makes the book enthralling. Plus, there's the hilarious, realistic dialogue and bold, expressive illustrations. Don't miss this chance to see Pigeon again.

Mo Willems has won six Emmy awards for his writing on Sesame Street.

He is also the creator of Cartoon Network's Sheep in the Big City and head writer for Codename: Kids Next Door, also on Cartoon Network. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter, Trixie