CHILDREN’S BOOK MARATHON Part II

In Jay’s (of the blog “This Is My Truth Now) Children’s Book Marathon, participants are asked to read children’s books and review them. Last week’s books were Picture Books, and I was a day late, but I reviewed all three books.  This time, the books are Award Winning Books, and since I waited until the last minute to order them from my local library, they did not come in until today, two days after the “deadline.” Thus, I have only had time to read one of the three, and I think I’ll pass on the other two. The first book in this category is Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne ;I am sure I have read this book at one time, and I’ve seen more than one cartoon version of a story from the series, but I think instead of re-reading the book, I’ll try to watch the part human actor/part-animated character-movie that has recently come out.  The man who plays Christopher Robin is an actor I’ve seen in other films, and he is quite good.)

The second book by Lois Lowry, whom I’ve read before in YA books, is Number the Stars. It is a simply written book which will allow children to read and understand it on their own, dealing with the WWII German occupation of Denmark and the heroic people who smuggled an amazing number of Jews out of occupied Denmark at the risk of their own lives and relocating them safely.  I began the book in the truck on the way home from the library, and frankly (perhaps  because of its simplicity), it didn’t keep my interest, and I could have told you the plot and the outcome from about the third page, so, I am passing on it too.

That leaves book three, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, a picture book as well as an award winner, to review. The book is a delight.  The pigeon of the title in this book (written and illustrated by mo willems) is a light blue crazy, zany pigeon with a bright yellow beak.  Children, who love crazy, zany things, will fall in love with him at once. At the beginning of the story (which is as crazy and zany as the illustrations), the bus driver excuses himself from the bus for a short while, telling the passengers and us, the readers that whatever happens, “Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus.” Of course the pigeon begs the readers to drive the bus, and for the next ten or so pages, sketches of him as he begs, cajoles, threatens, bribes, yells, makes promises, tries to trick us, and generally pleads with us to let him drive the bus. After a two page full large-lettered tantrum, he stands angry, disgusted, frustrated,  and with feathers strewn across the next two pages from the violence of his tantrum, he gives up just as the bus driver strolls back into the picture. As the bus driver whisks the bus away, the pigeon is so depressed he doesn’t notice the BIG truck rapidly approaching! We know he will be hit, but the last two pages show him dreaming (Eyes closed; Is he dead or alive; this is left up for “discussion”) and imagining in a  succession of frames, the big truck with the pigeon at the wheel, driving.

The book is so smart, so funny, so engaging that I must comment that willems obviously knows children: their humor, their attention spans, their imaginations. I am glad that since I decided to only review one of the three books, this was the one!

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Author: Rae Longest

This year marks my fiftieth year in AAUW (American Association of University Women). The Alvin chapter was begun in 1947, and as a new, green teacher to Alvin Independent School District, I joined in 1968. In the 80's we began a book group to share our love of reading, books,and fellowship with other women and girls who loved the same. We resurrected the group on-line in September of 2015. Eventually Powerful Women Readers folded as an on-line book club, but I kept the title and turned it into a blog. (See "Introduction,"first blog). This is my first experience at blogging or publishing anything and is becomes more fun with each blog posted. I am currently teaching as an adjunct at The University of Houston Clear Lake. This makes my 28th year there after three years at Alvin Community College and an almost-twenty year career as a classroom teacher with Alvin Independent School District. Reading and writing are "in my blood" just like teaching is. I hope you enjoy the blog.

9 thoughts on “CHILDREN’S BOOK MARATHON Part II”

  1. A lovely review of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus sounds unusual and quirky – I love the sound of it. The book of Winnie the Pooh is actually quite different from the Disney version and is a firm favourite in our household – I’ve read it regularly to 2 generations of my family and every class I’ve ever taught – and my go-to story is the one about pooh-sticks. Thank you for sharing, Rae:))

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi! I shared this post and linked it on the main page for the readathon @ https://thisismytruthnow.com/childrens-books-readathon-august-2018/childrens-readathon-award-winners/

    Thank you! Brilliant. Your comments and posts are always welcome even if late as you pointed out last week. I adore reading what you have to say. As for the pigeon… it’s a series, so I can’t wait to find out more about his/her life. I think you bring up a good question at the end. I took it as the pigeon was just left behind! LOL I’m taking on Number the Stars book this afternoon and writing a review tonight. It might be late, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So glad you loved The Pigeon story. My grandson was in stitches as I read it to him. I enjoyed Winnie the Pooh as it brought back great memories. I agree that it is very different from the Disney version. I am looking forward the the Christopher Robin movie. It really looks interesting. Thanks for sharing your take on these books Rae.

    Liked by 1 person

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