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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

PigeonBusShe’s so cute. Kate thought we wouldn’t have enough to talk about with this week’s podcast because the featured book is so simple in both text and image. Little did she know!!! What happens when an adult woman reads this book for the first time and is told that many consider it a modern day classic? Oh. Let’s find out. Along the way Kate questions the shenanigans (her word) of the bus driver, why the pigeon never has eyelashes (does Mo have something against them?), whether or not the bird is Slytherin, and I begin to focus on what the prior relationship between the driver and the pigeon is exactly.

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or your preferred method of podcast selection.


Source Notes:

– The Ray Bradbury story I refer to about the girl who misses the one day of sun on her planet was “All Summer In a Day“.

– If you’d like to see the precise words of what the Caldecott criteria is, you can go here. And I had no idea she was going to put that classical music behind me while I spoke. That was kind of nice.

– Can I tell you that until Kate pointed it out, I never noticed that there is no reason (with this first book anyway) to think the pigeon isn’t a girl.

– See, Kate, this is what happens when the pigeon drives.


– I could not find the locker room sequence at the end of the Weston Woods video on YouTube. But, and this is the good part, for the first time Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus is now appearing on Bookflix. Does your library subscribe? It might! Find out from your local children’s librarian and then watch the whole video there. You’ll be glad you did.

– Kate doesn’t mention what her tattoo from this book would be, but I known mine! I just love what he’s doing with the tiny tips of his little wings here.


– I cannot tell you how happy I am that this app Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App is back up and running.

– I dunno, folks. What do you think? Should we redo the Top 100 Picture Books Poll again? I mean Kate did say she’d help and all . . .

The Indies Choice Book Awards Picture Book Hall of Fame.

– I’m happy to report that actually this book didn’t beat The Very Hungry Caterpillar on my Top 100 Picture Books Poll. But it did beat Goodnight Moon.

– The Internet has failed me. There is no fan art making the Pigeon Slytherin. This was the closest I was able to find. It is insufficient.


– Curious about this Grace Lin podcast I was talking about? Check out the Kidlitwomen podcast and my episode here.

– Which of our transcripts would people like to read? Let us know and Kate will type them out.

– Just for fun, let’s round this out by looking at some random pictures of the pigeon that I have in my files here on the blog for no discernible reason. I have no idea what any of these are from:





Okay, I lied. That last one is from the Toronto Illustrators Blog post Only a Brain Injury Could Make Me Draw Martin Amis. You’re welcome.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. Benji Martin says

    I drew a pretty crappy illustration of the pigeon with the Sorting Hat on for a blog post this past summer

    The bus driver is totally Hufflepuff btw.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Oh man. You totally called that one, Benji. Glad to see other folks have thought about this before we did.

      • Benji Martin says

        Tell Kate that I love this book, but mostly because of the “experience” of reading it aloud to a group of kids. She should totally guest read to a kindergarten class somewhere and revaluate her feelings afterwards.

        Fun fact: I have never ever read this book to a group of kids, and not have a kid cave for the five bucks. At least one “No” always turns into a “Yes” at that point.

        Keep up the good work. I love the podcast. I always want to jump into my phone and join the conversation.

  2. Oh, please, redo the Top 100 Picture Books Poll!!! I did not get to participate in the last one.

  3. My 3 year old nephew, said “Okay” when the pigeon said he would be his friend. I don’t know if I should worry about that, or just be glad he is a sweetheart that wants to be everyone’s friend.

  4. Does The Easter Egg Artists by Adrienne Adams stand a chance as a classic Easter book? It was a childhood favorite of mine, so I can’t look at it objectively!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Lord knows I’ve missed an Easter book in my time. I’ll take a gander!

    • I thought of The Easter Egg Artists too when listening to this podcast. I didn’t know about it as a kid but picked it up at a used book sale a several years ago. My kids and I all really like it. Adrienne Adams also created one of my favorite Halloween books, A Woggle of Witches. Her illustrations are beautiful, and both of those books are also well-written. A Woggle of Witches was popular enough, apparently, to warrant a sequel, A Halloween Happening, which is equally beautiful to look at but, unfortunately, not interesting to read.

  5. Jennifer in GA says

    Kate is so very, very wrong that I can barely find the words to explain her wrongness.

    Upthread, Benji is absolutely right. You can’t read Pigeon in a vacuum. You have to read it with children. I was a preschool teacher for 10+ years and been a nanny for the last five and I have never met a child who didn’t adore this book. (I know they are out there, but I’m just saying.) The heady power of children yelling “NO!!” is hilarious.I even had a Pigeon shirt (Pigeon on the front, “I have feelings, you know!” on the back) that I would wear at least once a week because it was so popular.

    (And I love the artwork. Mo Willems manages to convey a huge range of emotions on the Pigeon’s face with just pencil and three colors. That’s amazing.)

  6. This has been one of the funniest episodes yet! Poor Kate. She does need to try it in front of a group of kids.