The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems
Willems, Mo. 2008. The Pigeon Wants a Puppy. New York, New York: Hyperion Books for Children. ISBN 1423109600
b. Plot Summary
Mo Willem’s Pigeon mirrors many children’s desire: a puppy. Pigeon promises to care for it and love it, “…I’ll water it once a month.” He begs and pleads for so long that a puppy appears. However, once Pigeon sees the puppy, he is not sure if he wants it any longer, “It’s huge!” In the end, Pigeon sets his heart on a different animal, a walrus.
c. Critical Analysis
Willem’s story is very appropriate to the age he is targeting, 2-6. Children at this age can relate to the desire for a puppy and the necessity that it deserves. The plot moves perfectly with a conflict and resolution- although, the children will be wondering if Pigeon ever gets the walrus.
The text and illustration blend smoothly with one another. In fact, the illustrations add so much to the story. They can be described as simple, but powerful. Set in a pastel palette, most pages only have a picture of Pigeon expressing his feelings by body language. Until, we get closer to the climax of meeting the puppy, then the illustrations get fast-paced, just like Pigeon’s thinking. Willems uses speech bubbles for all of Pigeon’s dialogue. The emotions of Pigeon can be seen by the enlargement or minimization of the bubbles.
d. Review Excerpts
· Starred review in School Library Journal “…expressive illustrations and engaging text”
· Starred review in Booklist “…kids will reach the end wondering what Pigeon will want next.”
e. Connections and Classroom Activities
· You could lead a discussion about a time the child got something he wanted that was not quite what he expected.
· Author study of other Mo Willems’ books with Pigeon as main character. Look at Pigeon’s emotions, desires, and body language. Are there any similarities or differences?