We Love Mo Willems: Making Pigeon Books with Kids

My class loves Mo Willems’ books! They just can’t get enough. We have almost every book in the Pigeon series in our classroom. The wonderful thing about the Pigeon books is that the audience can interact with the Pigeon.

Making Pigeon Books with Kids

Since we do “Bookmaking” (as in the book Already Ready: Nurturing Writers in Preschool and Kindergarten) in our class all year, we spend time during the year talking about elements and features of the books we read. The Pigeon books work great for this: we talk about the difference between the thought bubbles and the talk bubbles; how Willems sometimes uses smaller squares on a page to show the Pigeon’s different actions; how Willems uses dark scribble lines or red eyes to show the Pigeon’s strong emotions, such as anger or sadness.

One day, my class decided to make their own Pigeon books. It was very interesting to see how they incorporated similar elements into their books. One of the great things about these books is that the Pigeon is so easy to draw.  Here are some sample pages:

This picture is a female version of the Pigeon for a book in which a girl pigeon was needed:

This page shows how a child used the “talk bubble” element to show that the Pigeon is saying something:

On this page, a child drew the Pigeon’s different actions in smaller squares, like Willems does in some of the Pigeon books. The first square shows a talk bubble, the second square shows the Pigeon crying (because he doesn’t get what he wants), and the third square shows the Pigeon smiling (because he has thought of a new strategy to try to convince you to give him what he wants).

On this page, a child used the dark squiggle lines above the Pigeon’s head to show his emotions.

This page shows a thought bubble. We know this is a thought bubble rather than a talk bubble because of the 5 dots leading from the Pigeon’s head to the bubble. I thought it was neat how this child drew the Pigeon’s head peeking into the page.

The titles and themes the children came up with were a lot of fun and very creative. A few examples:

The Pigeon Wants to Wear Make-Up!
The Pigeon Wants to Wear a Diaper
Don’t Let the Pigeon Play with a Kid
Don’t Let the Pigeon Have Treasures
Pigeons Don’t Wear Shoes!
Don’t Let the Pigeon Have a Girlfriend
The Pigeon Wants to be President
The Pigeon Goes to the Moon
Don’t Let the Pigeon Go Dancing

Of course, as suggested in the book, Already Ready, the teacher needs to write books, too! My book was titled “Don’t Let the Pigeon Go to Pre-K”, in which the Pigeon tries to convince the audience to let him go to school and promises he will follow the rules and use good manners.

Pigeons Books by Mo Willems:
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!
The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!
The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!

I hope your class has as much fun with these books as mine!

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