Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

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Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
AuthorMo Willems
Cover artistWillems
GenreChildren's books
picture books
PublisherHyperion Books for Children
Publication date
[E] 22
LC ClassPZ7.W65535 Dj 2003

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! is a children's picture book by Mo Willems. Released by Disney-Hyperion in 2003, it was Willems' first book for children, and received the Caldecott Honor.[1] The plot is about a bus driver who has to leave so he asks the reader to not allow the pigeon to drive the bus. The pigeon tries many excuses and tries to finagle readers into letting it drive the bus. An animated adaptation of the book won the 2010 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video.[2]


Willems has created further books about the Pigeon's adventures:

Board books[edit]

  • The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too! (2005)
  • The Pigeon Loves Things That Go! (2005)

Cameo appearances by the Pigeon can also be found in Willems's Knuffle Bunny, Elephant and Piggie, and Cat the Cat book series.


In addition to the Caldecott Honor, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! was an American Library Association Notable Book, a National Council of Teachers of English Notable Book, a Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books Blue Ribbon Book,[4] and a South Carolina Picture Book Award winner[5]Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."[6] It was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.[7]

The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! is a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year.[8] Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! is a Parenting Magazine Best Book.[9] The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! is the 2009 Children’s Choice Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year.[10]

Each of the four of the standard-format Pigeon books has been on the New York Times best-seller list.

A 2011 scientific study entitled "Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus" examined the ability of pigeons to solve the traveling salesperson problem by taking the shortest route to visit multiple feeders in a laboratory. The authors found that pigeons "appeared to plan ahead multiple steps," which provided "clear and strong evidence that animals other than primates are capable of planning sophisticated travel routes."[11][12]

A parody, "Don't Let The Republican Drive The Bus" (not by Willems) replaces the pigeon with a vulture and advocates Democratic ideals.[13]


  1. ^ 2004 Caldecott Medal Honors
  2. ^ Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Children's Video winners, 1991 to present
  3. ^!-Mo
  4. ^ "Pigeon Presents!". Pigeon Presents!. 2003-01-04. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
  5. ^ "Picture Book Award Nominees and Materials: Past Picture Book Award Winners". South Carolina Association of School Librarians. Retrieved March 26, 2017.
  6. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  7. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results". School Library Journal "A Fuse #8 Production" blog. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  8. ^ "Pigeon Presents!". Pigeon Presents!. 2005-01-09. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
  9. ^ "Pigeon Presents!". Pigeon Presents!. 2006-01-05. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
  10. ^ "Pigeon Presents!". Pigeon Presents!. 2008-01-04. Retrieved 2013-05-11.
  11. ^ Gibson, B.; Wilkinson, M.; Kelly, D. (October 1, 2011). "Let the pigeon drive the bus: pigeons can plan future routes in a room". Animal Cognition. 15 (3): 379–91. doi:10.1007/s10071-011-0463-9. PMID 21965161.
  12. ^ Horowitz, A.; Shea, A. (December 30, 2011). "Story Time, Debunked". New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2011.
  13. ^ "Don't Let the Republican Drive the Bus! | *AUTHORS". 2009-01-19. Archived from the original on 2013-09-22. Retrieved 2013-05-11.

External links[edit]