In conjunction with Scholastic Storybook Treasures, beloved children's author, Mo Willems releases Pigeon and Pals: Complete Cartoon Collection, Vol. 1 & 2. The set includes six of his beloved stories, brought to life on the screen to the delight of children everywhere. In this collection, you will get "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!," "The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!," "Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale," "Knuffle Bunny Too: A Case of Mistaken Identity," "Leonardo the Terrible Monster," and "Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed."
It's difficult to review these wonderful stories, without first considering the man behind them. Mo Willems started out as a television writer. He went to film school, but then realized he did not have the patience to deal with the various challenges involved in creating live action. So instead, Willems began animating cartoons and writing sketch comedy for adults.
Mo was then asked to become an animator and writer for Sesame Street. He was offered the job because of his ability to be funny, telling him they could teach him to write for kids. But Mo soon learned just how challenging writing for children can be. He believes that easy readers are difficult for writers because they are pressured to tell an exciting story with just a handful of simple words.
Willems first children's book, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, was published in 2003, but it did not come to him easily. He met with some agents and gave them a sketchbook he had developed, introducing it as a "gag thing he was doing." However, they thought there was a book that could be made of it, so he re-worked for a younger audience. Twenty-nine editors said it was unusual and turned him down before one finally published it.
The pigeon stories were born in Oxford, England. Willems had moved there for a month because he thought it would make him more intelligent. He spent a great deal of time trying to make the "great American children's book," but instead found himself drawing pigeons. To get it off his back, he created a sketchbook, and in this sketchbook, he made a young boy responsible for the pigeon, ensuring that it did not drive the bus. His breakthrough came when he found that getting rid of the middle man (the young boy) would make the audience responsible for the pigeon, making the story more interactive and, in turn, easier to draw. Willems admits that he has no control over the character of the pigeon. It continues to peck at this head, insisting he make more books.