The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!

The Pigeon HAS to Go to School!
Mo Willems
Walker Books

At last the time has come; our favourite picture book Pigeon is to start school, despite the fact that he’s adamant that he’s not going. “I already know EVERYTHING!” he insists immediately shooting himself in the foot by inviting readers to ‘… ask me a question. Any question!’

From there however he starts revealing his real anxieties: he’s not good first thing in the morning; supposing he doesn’t like it and worse – supposing the teacher doesn’t like pigeons. One by one these worries emerge from beneath that feathery bluster. There’s sooooooooooo much stuff to learn – too much and his head and body might part company.

We’re treated to an eight-part tirade of terrifying possibilities – ‘Will FINGER PAINT stick to my feathers? … What’s up with those heavy BACKPACKS? I’m a fragile bird.’ By now our little Pigeon is a jittering wreck.

But then, after a further rant …

comes a light bulb moment … followed by the very best of all Pigeon possibilities that answers his question, ‘Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!”

It’s a truly wonderful finale, perfectly delivered Mo Willems style; and I’m sure all the Pigeon fans out there will be on the edges of their seats as they anticipate what is about to show up next – whey hey! …

Presented almost entirely through speech bubbles, Pigeon’s monologue is simply brilliant and the way in which Willems zooms in and out on his protagonist both orchestrates the action and highlights the emotional turmoil.

I’ve totally loved all of the Pigeon books but perhaps this is my favourite so far.

Share with those about to start school as well as those already experienced in the mysteries of the classroom.

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