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

Friday, 14 February 2020

Review: The Pigeon HAS To Go To School

This picture book bursts with voice and humour. 

Mo Willem’s famous pigeon speaks directly to the reader and invites the child to share his journey. 

The pigeon is about to commence school and really doesn’t see the point of going. After all, he already knows everything, right? Okay, maybe not.

The reader soon discovers that this is just bluster and pigeon is actually nervous about starting this big journey. 

After all, there’s sooooo much stuff to learn. And what if his head pops off with all those things he will have to learn? 


After more silly and outlandish questions, the pigeon eventually arrives at the underlying emotion and admits that he is feeling scared. And he is scared because he really has no idea about what might be in store for him in that place.

The insight that the unknown is actually very scary forms a springboard for the pigeon to move forward. From that admission, he then discovers what might actually be the best place for a scared pigeon.

Willem’s illustrations are sparse, featuring the pigeon and limited background detail. 

These are coloured in a muted tone, allowing the pigeon’s voice and actions to take centre stage. 

Willems expertly articulates the pigeon’s fears. He has produced a balance between the sort of self-talk that might be on a nervous child’s mind, whilst simultaneously being silly and crazy enough to not scare an anxious child – and indeed, likely to elicit a good laugh.

Perfect for those big kids about to make the transition to school or preschool. Or any child who enjoys a chuckle.

Title: The Pigeon HAS To Go To School
Author: Mo Willems
Illustrator: Mo Willems
Publisher: Walker Books, $16.99 
Publication Date: 1 August 2019 
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781406389012
For ages: 3+ 
Type: Picture Book 



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