Synopses & Reviews
The Duckling asks for a cookie — and gets one! Do you think the Pigeon is happy about that?
"Where an exclamation point conveyed birdy delight in Willems's The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! this title's interrobang implies shock at the Duckling's good fortune. As the sequence opens, the yellow Duckling requests a cookie, receives one immediately, and graciously thanks the unseen provider with a 'flappy flip flap!' The Pigeon, whom the Duckling cajoled into sharing a hot dog in the earlier book, soon arrives to express astonishment. Multipanel spreads and emphatic voice balloons reveal his outrage as The Pigeon throws a colossal tantrum ('I ask for things all the time!/ I ask to drive the bus!... I've asked for a walrus!... But do I get what I ask for? Noooooo!'). In an unexpected turn, the Duckling gives the Pigeon the entire cookie, shocking the bird (and probably readers, too). Willems packs his punchy dialogue, punctuation, and cartoon visuals with meaning. The Duckling's dilated blue pupils and wiggling tail suggest studied cuteness, while the Pigeon's pointy wings and scornful eyelids show comical aggravation. The Duckling's outward generosity, which hides ulterior motives, ends this exuberant Pigeon installment on a snarky note worthy of Tweety Bird. Ages 2 – 6." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Who could deny a sweet little duckling anything? Certainly not the universe, which readily gives the duckling a cookie (descending from the top of the page) when she asks politely. This incenses the pigeon, of course, who has a history of being denied pretty much everything he's ever asked for-to drive a bus, to stay up late, one more story, to name but a few of his prior requests. This time, though, the duckling, who has a history of her own of sharing with the pigeon, happily gives him her cookie; she doesn't like cookies with nuts, but the pigeon doesn't need to know that, and the duckling gets props for being kind-hearted and generous. This sly turn of events offers a gratifying if slightly cynical lesson in playground politics; giving up something you don't particularly like anyway can garner more goodwill than you intended, as long as you don't brag about it. The pigeon runs delightfully true to form, masterfully working the complaint soliloquy genre in both word and expression, even to the point of mustering up tears for dramatic effect. His litany of woe conjures vast and varied curricular potential, from readers theater to creative writing to comparative-literature lessons with books that touch on similar topics and themes. Just remember, if you give a duckling a cookie, be sure to have a few extra on hand to prevent ruffled feathers. KC--BCCB
In this seventh Pigeon book-the first in four years (The Pigeon Wants a Puppy! rev. 7/08)-the Duckling asks politely for a cookie and gets one: "Thanks! That was very nice of you!" No fuss, no drama. Enter the Pigeon. Shocked-shocked!-that the Duckling "got a cookie with nuts just by asking," the Pigeon sets off on one of his trademark egocentric tirades. "I ask for things ALL THE TIME! But do I get what I ask for?" Of course, "It's NOT fair" and "Ducklings get everything!" Kids will undoubtedly be familiar with the Pigeon's strong emotions, but here they aren't the ones out of control, which makes the gentle lesson in behavior as sweet as a cookie. The Pigeon's rant comes to a screeching halt when the Duckling generously offers him the treat; the now-contrite Pigeon is rendered almost speechless. Simple speech-balloon text, animated illustrations, and a clean design continue to be a successful formula for Willems's brand of storytelling. The Pigeon may not get the Duckling's message about manners and unselfishness, but young listeners will. And when they demand this book again, they just might ask politely. Have cookies ready please. kitty flynn--Horn Book
K-Gr 2 Duckling, familiar to readers of The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog! (Hyperion, 2004), asks politely and receives a cookie with nuts. Incredulous, Pigeon rants about the many things that he has asked for and failed to receive a chance to drive the bus, hot-dog parties, a walrus, one more story, his personal iceberg, etc. In classic Pigeon fashion, the lovably emotional bird relates the unfairness of it all through a hilarious monologue until finally exploding in clenched-fist (or, rather, clenched-wing) anger. But every pigeon has his day, for the duckling offers him the cookie (never mind that Duckling doesn't like nuts), and he accepts the gift with gracious humility. Confident, un-ornamented strokes characterize Willems's seemingly simple illustrations. Postures and expressions are spot-on, conveying the nuances of Pigeon's feelings and the comedy in his passionate behavior. While just plain fun to read aloud, this book is an excellent conversation starter on the topics of politeness and making reasonable requests. This meta-tale that references the gamut of the Pigeon oeuvre will please fans and newcomers alike. Jayne Damron, Farmington Community Library, MI--SLJ
Pigeon is back, in all of his indignant, passive-aggressive glory, overwrought this time at one gross injustice: a cute little duckling is now on the scene and has been rewarded a cookie (with nuts) for doing nothing more than asking for it politely. Pigeon pulls out all of the usual pigeon stops-coy glances, cartwheels, and crocodile tears-in the hopes of securing a cookie for himself . . . and it works! The duckling shares. As with the other titles in the Pigeon series, simple pencil drawings on pale, blank backgrounds focus our attention on the characters' interactions. Willems has an extraordinary ability to convey immediate, deep characterization with a few deft strokes. He knows, too, how to spread the action across a picture book, carefully managing the panels and page turns to ramp up the drama. Fans will delight at another outing, and the protagonist's indelible pigeonality will welcome newcomers to the club. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Pigeon is a beloved character, and his legions of fans will clamor for this, the seventh Pigeon book from hugely popular, award-winning Willems. - Thom Barthelmess--Booklist
Everyone's favorite grouch of a fowl returns, though the spotlight is firmly fixed elsewhere. Never content to be merely a supporting character, The Pigeon nonetheless takes a backseat in a story in which The Duckling asks for and receives a cookie with nuts. Incensed, The Pigeon proceeds to rant about the various items and impossibilities he has asked for over the years, ignoring point blank the fact that The Duckling got his cookie by asking politely. At the end of the expected meltdown, the smaller bird reveals that he only got the cookie in the first place so that he could give it to The Pigeon. Flabbergasted ("Hubba- Whaa?!?"), our hero leaves with cookie in hand, and The Duckling reveals that his seeming sainthood-he shares slyness as well as color with Tweety Bird-may be a bit of an act. Even those who think they may have tired of The Pigeon's antics will find much to enjoy in this familiar but different outing. The importance of politeness is evident, but its delivery is not didactic in the least. Just as enjoyable as a read-aloud to a group or as a one-on-one lapsit, it's a pleasure to see Willems at the top of his game, and The Pigeon suitably humbled. (Picture book. 3-8)--Kirkus
The Pigeon returns (as does the Duckling) for a fifth adventure in the New York Times best-selling series by Mo Willems!
About the Author
Mo Willems is a three-time Caldecott Honor-winning Dinosaur (for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Knuffle Bunny, and Knuffle Bunny Too). He also won two Geisel Medals for There Is a Bird on Your Head! and Are You Ready to Play Outside?, and a Geisel Honor for We Are in a Book! His books are perennial New York Times bestsellers, including Knuffle Bunny Free and Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! Before he turned to making picture books, Mo was a writer and animator on Sesame Street, where he won six Emmys. Mo lives happily ever after with his family in Massachusetts.