Time for a ride with the adorable pigeons!

By Himanshu Nimbhorkar

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“A book, being a physical object, engenders a certain respect that zipping electrons cannot. Because you cannot turn a book off, because you have to hold it in your hands, because a book sits there, waiting for you, whether you think you want it or not, because of all these things, a book is a friend. It’s not just the content, but the physical being of a book that is there for you always and unconditionally.”

Mo Willems, author of the acclaimed book series ‘Elephant and Piggie’, and award winning books ‘Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus!’, ‘Knuffle Bunny’ versions; is a wholesome example of how a childlike enthusiasm gets reflected from an adult with as much innocence and purity as that of a kid. The passion and conviction, with immense love for stories. And the very act of storytelling.

Born in Chicago, Willems began expressing through his art from the tender age of 3. He drew characters. Which later transitioned into writing. Willems is also an animator, and has illustrated a long list of books. His authored titles list begins with ‘Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus!’. The book revolves around a bus driver and pigeon (who wishes to drive the bus). The driver is adamant on not allowing him to do so. He requests the readers to refrain the pigeon from driving the bus. And the banter continues further.

The book was rejected by countless publishers stating the very reason which the publisher who eventually published it stated – They all said it’s unusual. But as per Williams, whether is an ‘unusual’ pejorative or a positive, is the ultimate question. The dialogue heavy narrative with sketches of the pigeon stood out. It soon turned into a franchise with the Pigeon returning in the follow-up books ‘The pigeon finds a hot dog’, ‘The pigeon loves things that go’, ‘The pigeon has feelings too’; so on and so forth.

Willems emphasizes upon his inherent need to spark creativity and joy, leaving behind a sweet aftertaste, after having read his books. Also he intends his books to be read by kids and adults alike. Simple basic questions find their way into his work. The very purpose of being in a childlike sense is passed on to the readers. The idea of niceness, or the lack of it, is conveyed in a simplified manner. His books come with a sense of hyped up excitement, and he expects that excitement to translate onto the reactions of his readers while his stories are underway, being read in real time.

“All of the life-changing awesome words and pictures and ideas inside your library are useless without just one word outside your library – Open.”

Mo Willems innocently advocates for the act of reading, and feeling, and cherishing emotions. Just like his quote, it’s important for us as readers to be open and receptive to his unique ideas, more specifically his creatively novel approach, and his passionate storytelling.

Buckle up for an unforgettable ride with the adorable pigeons!