The Duckling Gets a Cookie!? (Pigeon series) / Willems, Mo

Amazon Best Books of the Month for Kids, April 2012: The Pigeon is back (hooray!) and this time the drama centers on an adorable little duckling who gets a cookie just by asking--politely. Just by asking?! Politely reminds the duckling, but the Pigeon is already off on a hilarious rant about all the things he asks for--many of which readers of the earlier Pigeon books will remember--ending with the all-too-familiar refrain, “It’s not fair.” Author Mo Willems adds a new twist to this Pigeon story by juxtaposing Pigeon’s familiar high volume theatrics with the calm simplicity of a soft-spoken duckling. As a parent, I appreciate the book’s message about the power of politeness and the rewards of sharing (warning: cookies are involved), yet the story never loses the jovial, high-spirited quality that makes the Pigeon books so popular with kids and the adults who read to them. --Seira Wilson

Amazon Exclusive: The Pigeon: A Life in Pictures
(Click on images to enlarge)

Back in 1993, I was cartooning for a ’zine. Due to a lack of other material, we decided to make the December issue a sketchbook with just my cartoons. I have been producing small cartoon and story sketchbooks for clients and pals every year since then.In 1998, my sketchbook featured a new character, the Pigeon. Born in the margins of a 1997 notebook filled with potential picture book ideas, he was complaining that his ideas were better than mine. To mollify him, I put him in that year’s sketchbook.The original sketchbook was much longer than the final published volume, but some of the lines were the same.
In late 1999, an agent essentially agreed with the Pigeon and rejected my picture book ideas. She suggested I revisit my sketchbook with an eye to turning it into a picture book. My wife was working at a school library at the time and had read the sketchbook to her kids, who had enjoyed it. So I suppose it wasn’t too crazy an idea. I started to revise the layout and work with color.At the end of 2001, after several dozen rejections because the book was “unusual,” an editor decided that “unusual” was a good thing. Plus, it made her laugh. I began reworking and rewriting. The Pigeon was now starting to look more like his mature self.Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! was published in April 2003 and, to my surprise, proved to be popular quite quickly. Thankfully, that Pigeon doodle in the notebook back in 1997 was so insistent. He was right!

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