Illustrators often begin the story on the title page, giving you some background to the story with the picture they paint. In this title page of The Pigeon Wants a Puppy, you find the pigeon has made a list: Things I Want. The first three numbered items refer to Mo Willems’ past books:
1. Drive a bus!
2. Eat a hot dog all by myself!
3. Stay Up Late!
A familiar Mo Williams‘ craft of the pigeon speaking to you, the reader, continues in this conversational text. I find it interesting that Mo has allowed children (the readers) to have a need filled – the need for power and choice. The reader begins to respond to the pigeon in his/her own way, as the author gently guides him/her through the story.
The text is so child-like, including the persuasiveness. “What I’ve wanted forever…? A Puppy.” The pigeon goes on making promises to take care of it. Then, the whammer! The punch –
“Oh… I get it.”
“You don’t want me to be happy, do you?“
Can you feel the guilt?
The ending cracks me up. the puppy arrives and the pigeon goes into utter shock – AAAAAAAAAGGHH!!! (Literally 9 capital A’s and the pigeon’s losing his feathers). The shock leads to excuses and then ….
I’m going to leave you hanging. You have to go to the library, grab a copy, and savor the book. You’ll have fun!
Savorings for reading and in writing for The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!:
- Conversation – realistic banter
- Inference – the reader’s responses to the pigeon
- Clever wording and Voice – Mo Willems must listen to real-life conversations of children and then, his wordings draws you in
- Surprise ending