The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

My girls love Mo Willems books. We own almost everything that he has written, and we especially love the Pigeon character. If you have an older toddler, a preschooler, or a child in the early years of elementary school, chances are that s/he would love the fast-talkin Pigeon.

Today was a very exciting day at our house. I pre-ordered The Pigeon Needs a Bath at the beginning of the year, and today was the day that the book arrived. We have already read it several times, and the girls have declared that it is a hit.

The book begins with the Bus Driver character informing the reader that the Pigeon is dirty and needs a bath. As usual, the Bus Driver shuffles off and leaves the reader alone with the Pigeon. The Pigeon declares that he is not dirty. He gets defensive, and asks the reader, “When was the last time YOU took a bath?” After flies refuse to swarm around the Pigeon because he smells so badly, he concedes, and makes his way to the bathtub.

The second part of the book deals with the Pigeon’s complaints regarding the bath. Willems usually has 6-8 panels in one two-page spread, but he really outdoes himself with 29 panels across two pages, as the Pigeon unloads a litany of complaints. The bath is too hot, it’s too cold, there are too many toys, and the bath is too wet. Eventually, he concedes that the bath is “okay”, but what will happen when he finally gets into the tub?

The illustrations are charming. Willems employs a rather simple style of drawing, and it is surprising to see the full range of emotions that he has given to one cartoon bird. There are some fun cameos from other Willems creations to look out for. The girls thought it was so funny to see a visibly smudgy Pigeon with stink waves coming off of him. There was a lot of giggling, and squealing that the Pigeon was “SO STINKY!!!”

I would absolutely recommend The Pigeon Needs a Bath. Having to take a bath is something that they can relate to, and they loved the participatory aspect of the book, like when the Pigeon asked how long it had been since they had taken a bath. I can guarantee that this is going to become a new favorite!

You can find out more about the book on Amazon: The Pigeon Needs a Bath!

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