Friday, October 9, 2009

DWP - Driving While Pigeon

Can the Pigeon really be six years old? That means that preschoolers who shouted out "No!" (although there always was a rebel shouting "Yes!") when I first read this in storytime are practically in middle school. Yikes! Well, it's nice to see Mo Willems' classic (and still the best) Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus in audio at last.

Do I need to synopsize (is that a word?) ... do I need provide a synopsis?

There are two characters in this story and Weston Woods pulls out all the stops for a full cast recording. Mo reads the bus driver and Ambassador Jon Scieszka is the pigeon. There's a third character -- the reader/listener/viewer -- who is cleverly embodied by a wah-wah brass instrument(s). Everytime the Pigeon asks whether he can drive, the brass answers him. It's pretty charming.

Scieszka does a lot with the very little text provided him. In this central spread (thoughtfully provided on Willems' [may I call you Mo?] website ... it's bigger and easier to read here), where the Pigeon has to ask eight different ways, Scieszka reads each inquiry with a slightly different style. I particularly liked "How 'bout I give you five bucks?" which I swear sounded like Scieszka really was speaking out of the corner of his mouth. (Interestingly, Scieszka reads this spread straight across, not down one page and then the other.) It was completely silly and funny.

The audiobook ends with a brief chat with Willems -- actually not a chat, he's just talking. He's always entertaining, and here is no exception. I was interested to learn that the Pigeon started as a hand-drawn chapbook (?) given to friends at the holidays. One very astute friend saw the picture book possibilities, and the rest -- as they say -- is history.

A repeat of the concern noted in the previous post: There is no aural announcement of who the readers are. (I promise I won't say it a third time.)

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