I cave for an amazing picture book the same way I cave for smooth glass of white wine after a gorgeous day at the beach.

Hard.

One of my favorite picture books of all time is Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus. I can’t claim that this was a childhood favorite that I’ve cherished since story time when I was four because it wasn’t published until 2003.  I was introduced to the book by a graduate school professor. He read it aloud on the first day of our children’s literature class. The storytelling trifecta of an aging professor’s dry wit with a crooked nose reading with the grandeur and timely jazz hands of a Broadway star. The way all stories should be read to children.

My uncle drives a bus every day. True Story,” said the professor reading as pigeon, hand on heart.

We were hooked. And he proved his point. Picture books aren’t just for kids. I went to the bookstore about bought Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus that night.

Fast forward eight years (really? eight years?!?) to storytime at our house. My wit is not quite as dry as my former professor (perhaps that comes with age) and my nose isn’t crooked (at least, no one has mentioned it), but I do read a story with gusto. Might have been all that theatre training in high school. {{Side note: told you it would pay off, mom}}

The Bug adores Mo Willems’ books. We’ve read them seven million three hundred fifty five thousand times. Her latest Willems’ obsession? Knuffle Bunny, Too.

Needless to say, I was delighted to be introduced to the animated Mo Willems’ Pigeon and Pals StoryBook Treasures Collection, a DVD set containing six animated Willems classics  created by our friends at Scholastic and New Kideo. An opportunity to save my voice every once in a while when she wants to read a story five times over? Score one for mom.  I was even more delighted when I actually liked the animation! While elementary compared to the high tech animations of your kiddo’s favorite Disney movie, Peter List captures Willem’s modern illustrative style beautifully in each cartoon. The stories are read by Willems, his family, and even kid lit funny-man Jon Scieszka lends his voice for a line or two. When the pigeon and stinky cheese man meet up, hilarity ensues.

The Bug is completely enchanted the DVDs. Somehow, letting her watch animated stories eases guilt about letting her watch a little more television that usual, too. This is one DVD you should test drive around the block. Pigeon pun intended. You can preview it here.

Willems’ laid back modern style and quick wit permeates all of his books – making them entertaining for both kids and adults. Check out his blog and you’ll see what I mean.

“True story.”

PS: The pigeon tweets. You BET I just followed him.

Disclaimer: Scholastic sent us a complimentary copy of Willems’ DVD set. We were not expected to post about it, but both the Bug and I liked the DVDs so much we wanted to share. (cool) progeny gets a fair share of kid friendly items to review, but learned long ago that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. {Thanks again, mom.} So, you know we REALLY liked this one. 🙂 All expressed opinions and sometimes not-quite-right metaphors are my own. The artwork, however, belongs to Mr. Willems. {The art is pretty great, right?}