Cover image for The pigeon has to go to school!
The pigeon has to go to school!


Physical Description:
1 audio disc (approximately 13 min.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in. + 1 volume ((unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 cm).
General Note:
Read-along book: Hyperion Books for Children, ©2019
Track 1: story with page-turn signals (6:43) -- Track 2: story without page-turn signals (6:17).
Added Author:
Local Subject:
The pigeon must go to school, but frets about math, learning the alphabet, heavy backpacks, and what the teacher and other birds will think of him.


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Why does the Pigeon have to go to school? He already knows everything! And what if he doesn't like it? What if the teacher doesn't like him? What if he learns TOO MUCH!?!
Ask not for whom the school bell rings; it rings for the Pigeon!

Author Notes

Mo Willems was born on February 11, 1968. After graduating from New York University's Tisch School for the Arts, he spent a year traveling around the world drawing a cartoon every day, which were published in the book You Can Never Find a Rickshaw When it Monsoons. For nine seasons, he worked as a writer and animator for PBS' Sesame Street, where he received 6 Emmy Awards for his writing. During this time, he also served as a weekly commentator for BBC Radio and created two animated series, Nickelodeon's The Off-Beats and Cartoon Network's Sheep in the Big City.

While working as head writer for Cartoon Network's Codename: Kids Next Door, he began writing and drawing books for children. He received three Caldecott Honor Awards for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! in 2004; Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale in 2005; and Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity in 2008. He also created the Elephant and Piggie series for Easy Readers, which were awarded the Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal in 2008 and 2009.

His drawings, wire sculptures, and ceramics have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums across the nation. Occasionally he serves as the Radio Cartoonist for NPR's All Things Considered. He voices and produces animated cartoons based on his books with Weston Woods studios. The animated Knuffle Bunny was awarded Best Film during the New York International Children's Film Festival in 2008 and received the Andrew Carnegie Medal in 2007. His title Happy Pig Day made Publisher's Weekly Best Seller List for 2011. In 2012 his title Goldilocks and The Three Dinosaurs made The New York Times Best Seller List. In 2013 his titles: That is Not a Good Idea!, Let's Go for a Drive! and I'm a Frog! made the New York Times Best Seller List. In 2014 The Pigeons Need a Bath! and Waiting Is Not Easy! made the New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2--Willems's famed feathered protagonist faces the inevitable with a winning mix of chuckle-inducing bravado, honest emotion, and a child-grabbing point of view. The pigeon is not happy about the prospect of launching his educational career, flapping his wings in desperation as the book begins ("WAIT! Don't read that title!") and spouting a series of fervent objections that range from the familiar to the delightfully absurd: "Why do I have to go to school?" "I already know EVERYTHING!" "Does 'school' start in the morning? Because you know what I'm like in the morning! It is NOT pretty." "What if the teacher doesn't like pigeons?" "WHAT IF I LEARN TOO MUCH!?! My head might pop off." Utilizing muted monochromatic backdrops, the pages are dominated by the vividly drawn character, and his dramatic body language and ever-expressive single eye accentuate each and every comic beat. When the pigeon finally gets to the heart of the matter and reveals his true feelings ("I'm…scared"), he is drawn much smaller, with thinner lines and tighter body posture. Never fear, this lovable character works his way through his emotions (raising questions that parents can discuss with their own soon-to-be-students) and finishes on an upbeat note--total jubilation at his means of transportation: a school bus! VERDICT Deftly balancing genuine concerns with humor and buoyant reassurance, this irresistible offering starring a fan favorite is sure to become a first-day-of-school classic.--Joy Fleishhacker, Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs

Publisher's Weekly Review

At long last, the school bell tolls for Pigeon, despite his insistence that "I already know EVERYTHING!" But as longtime readers of Willems's series know, there's a little bird beneath all that bluster, and Pigeon soon reveals that school has turned him into a feather-covered bundle of anxieties. "What if the teacher doesn't like pigeons?" he asks, his normally robust black pupil shrinking to a little dot of fear. As he thinks about learning math and the alphabet, wearing a hefty backpack, and meeting other birds, the strong black outlines that have always defined Willems's beloved, kvetching protagonist turn ragged: "The unknown stresses me out, dude," he confides. But wait--is that a school bus he gets to ride on? "Coming through!" he shouts. "The Pigeon HAS to go to school!" Ages 3--5. (July)

Horn Book Review

Willemss pugnacious picture-book pigeon (most recently The Pigeon Needs a Bath, rev. 7/14) is unsurprisingly unexcited about starting school: Why do I have to go to school? I already know everything! Over the course of the story, in direct-address text, the pigeon imagines worst-case scenarios, from the ridiculous (What if I learn too much!?! My head might pop off) to the realistic (What will the other birds think of me?). Many children who are facing this milestone will relate to the pigeons apprehension. Those listeners and viewers witnessing his antics, though, should have no trouble recognizing the histrionics for what they are, as demonstrated loud and clear in both over-the-top text and restrained-until-theyre-not illustrations. The moments when the pigeon does show emotional vulnerability (Imscared) feel especially well earned; and the spread in which hes longing to be a baby again rewards viewers with an adorbs picture of a wide-eyed little-itty-bitty-not-going-to-school-baby-waybie pigeon. elissa gershowitz July/Aug p.121(c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

All the typical worries and excuses kids have about school are filtered through Willems' hysterical, bus-loving Pigeon.Told mostly in speech balloons, the bird's monologue will have kids (and their caregivers) in stitches at Pigeon's excuses. From already knowing everything (except whatever question readers choose to provide in response to "Go aheadask me a question. / Any question!") to fearing learning too much ("My head might pop off"), Pigeon's imagination has run wild. Readers familiar with Pigeon will recognize the muted, matte backgrounds that show off the bird's shenanigans so well. As in previous outings, Willems varies the size of the pigeon on the page to help communicate emotion, the bird teeny small on the double-page spread that illustrates the confession that "I'm / scared." And Pigeon's eight-box rant about all the perils of school ("The unknown stresses me out, dude") is marvelously followed by the realization (complete with lightbulb thought bubble) that school is the place for students to practice, with experts, all those skills they don't yet have. But it is the ending that is so Willems, so Pigeon, and so perfect. Pigeon's last question is "Well, HOW am I supposed to get there, anyway!?!" Readers will readily guess both the answer and Pigeon's reaction.Yes, the Pigeon has to go to school, and so do readers, and this book will surely ease the way. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

In this latest series installment, it's time for Pigeon to start attending school. However, he has absolutely no intention of going. He doesn't do mornings, and he already knows everything, including how to spel. His stance, wings on his little birdie hips, shows his determination to avoid what he considers unnecessary and a waste of his time. But as he goes through a litany of what-ifs, his anxiety begins to show through his stubbornness. While addressing his laundry list of concerns, he slowly begins to understand that school just might be helpful when it comes to learning about things like the alphabet, finger painting, and reading. Each page offers backgrounds in subdued colors of tan, purple, gray, pink, orange, and green, with our ever-dramatic pale blue Pigeon front and center, the text transmitted entirely through his dialogue bubbles. The ending is spot-on, as Pigeon spots something big, something bright, and something yellow, and his excitement skyrockets. Children on their way to kindergarten may recognize themselves in Pigeon's story and take heart at his (eventual) enthusiasm. The introductory endpapers show an empty classroom, and the concluding ones reveal who Pigeon's classmates will be. A few of them will even be easily recognized by children familiar with this author-illustrator . . . and who isn't?HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Pigeon's been winning hearts since he first appeared with that bus, and best-selling, multi-multi-award-winning Willems is irresistible to kids and grown-ups alike.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2019 Booklist