The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster!

Image of The Pigeon Will Ride the Roller Coaster!
Release Date: 
September 6, 2022
Union Square
Reviewed by: 

“Young readers will easily identify with Pigeon. . . . a brilliant picture book.”

Pigeon is back again, this time for a roller coaster ride. Mo Willems draws the simple character of Pigeon with a wonderfully expressive line. Hearts or tears or squiggles expressive of fear or worry take turns hovering over Pigeon’s head. Young readers will easily identify with Pigeon and the bird’s strong needs and plans.

As soon as Pigeon first heard of a roller coaster, the ride simply had to happen:

“I have been aquiver with anticipation—ever since I first heard about them. . . .”

Willems, who began his career writing and animating for Sesame Street, clearly doesn’t believe in talking down to children. Though Pigeon’s emotions and thoughts are young, the vocabulary sometimes is not. The contrast is one of the delights of the book.

Once the decision has been made, Pigeon lists what needs to happen: a ticket, waiting in line, being patient while waiting in line, and then, of course, the ride itself. Clearly terrified, worried, eager, and determined, all at once, Pigeon epitomizes toddler decisiveness:

“What am I waiting for!? The time is NOW!”

What will happen during the actual ride? Will Pigeon be afraid, have fun, feel sick? Perhaps all three? Step by step, page by page, Willems guides the reader through the adventure. The ending won’t be revealed here, but young readers will certainly finish the book and immediately ask for it to be read again. And again and again. That is the sign of a brilliant picture book.