'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 7 June 2013

Review: Don't Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book

We love Mo Willem’s Pigeon in our home. How could you not love the Pigeon’s melodramatic outbursts?

The attention-seeking Pigeon is true to form in Don’t Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book. Joined by the cheeky Duckling and the rampaging Mad Cow, the Pigeon rants, cajoles, complains, bubbles over with excitement, questions and worries in a story that incorporates more than 250 pages of games, events and hot dogs*. (*hot dogs not included)

Activities include simple games, craft projects, drawing activities, puzzles and word games. As the story unfolds, the Pigeon (and reader) write and illustrate their own picture book and attend an author signing, plan and peform a puppet show (creating finger puppets from the templates provided) and fold a paper aeroplane (to land on a runway provided in the book) and many more activities.

The Bus Driver (from Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!) offers instructions at the bottom of activity pages with basic symbols indicating what extra items might be required (eg crayons, scissors, sticky-tape) and occasionally points out that the assistance of a grown-up might be needed for extra-tricky projects.

My youngest child is 9-years-old and generally only has time for activities that feature trains, so I had expected to have fun reading this book before I passed it on to younger nieces or nephews. It is testimony of the far-reaching appeal of the Pigeon (and Mo Willem’s wonderful humour), that this book has already provided my son with hours of entertainment and seems likely to continue to keep him occupied for some time to come. There is absolutely no chance he will be allowing me to hand it over to someone else.

Above is just a sample of the Pigeon-related craft that we now have floating about our home. I have watched puppet performances and apparently an extra-special performance is being planned for an uncoming family birthday. The Duckling, my cheeky son’s favourite character, is also popping up in the most unexpected places, like his homework book to help with his spelling list.

Don’t Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book encourages children to be creative and use their imagination to interact with the story and complete the activities. There are lots of opportunities for children to incorporate their own ideas and preferences, so this never becomes a boring series of instructions and tasks. My son has managed to include drawings of trains in several activities, showing just how flexible the activities are.

Haven't read any Mo Willem's Pigeon books? KBR has reviewed Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late and The Duckling Gets a Cookie!?

Title: Don't Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book
Author/Illustrator: Mo Willems
Publisher: Walker Books, $17.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 May 2013
Format: Soft cover
ISBN: 9781406347319
For ages: 4 - 10 (younger children will need assistance with reading and activities)
Type: Activity Book