Picture Book Author/Illustrator Highlight: Mo Willems

When it comes to stories that make kids laugh, Mo Willems has written and illustrated some of the best. Recently Willems released the last story in his popular “Elephant and Piggie” series, titled “The Thank You Book”. We’re sad to see such a wonderful series end, so make sure to check out “The Thank You Book” and the rest of the “Elephant and Piggie” series from the children’s department today!
Willems is also known for titles such as “Knuffle Bunny”, “That Is Not A Good Idea”, “Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs”, and more! One of our favorites is the Pigeon series, starting with “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus”.
Recently we’ve used an app created by Willems called Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App in storytime, and the kids loved creating their own unique pigeon story. The app opens to a screen with six options that are clearly labeled and illustrated.
The app has three story modes: egg, chick, and big pigeon. In egg mode, the story is randomly generated with preselected phrases for the pigeon to say throughout the story. There is also an option for reading along with the story at the bottom of the screen. In chick mode, children can choose between options given by the bus driver to complete the story. The only thing that utilizes the microphone in this mode is when the bus driver asks for the child to say their name to be used in the story. Big pigeon utilizes the microphone to answer the bus driver’s questions, and the Pigeon will use the recorded answers to complete the story. The kids loved hearing their words and voices come out of the Pigeon’s beak! This mode also allows for the kids to save their favorite stories, so if you have a particularly funny one you might want to come back to later, save it and access it from the safe picture on the home screen. The pigeon is wonderfully animated and has all of the energy and rage that he has in the books. The Pigeon’s voice is perfect and the constant movement and fluctuation of background color keeps the kids interested.
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Another function of the app allows for kids to learn how to draw the Pigeon from Willems himself! The app is good about being patient and offering an example of how to draw the Pigeon, with Willems’ verbal instructions helping the child trace the parts of the drawing. Each step is individual, so they can take as much time as they need before moving on to the next step. You can even save the picture to your device’s photo gallery if you wish.
Overall this is a really fun app, easily played together as a family or by the child individually. The different story modes let children of a variety of ages play along and feel involved with the story. Though the story doesn’t change beyond the basic Pigeon outline, kids will have fun with this one for a while if they love the Pigeon stories. This app is available on iOS for $5.99. This can be considered pretty pricey for an app, but the app is brimming with quality, and if you and your child love the Pigeon, it might be worth the cost.