The Pigeon Needs a Bath! By Mo Willems

The Pigeon Needs a Bath

by Mo Willems

The Pigeon Needs a Bath

Ages 2 – 99+ (3 to 5 years old). Disney-Hyperion.  April 2014. 40 pages. ISBN: 978-1423190875. Fiction.

At a Glance/Summary:

What is that crazy pigeon with the incredibly expressive eye doing now?  Apparently protesting a bath!  What a punk!  Fortunately, when it is a pigeon (and not your child) being ridiculous — it’s fun.

Where to Get it:

Why You Should Read this Book:

  • It’s cheaper than therapy for you and your family — and funnier, too.  Mo Willems does a great job of depicting the resistant child/adult through a non-threatening pigeon.
  • Clearly and simply written so that when your child gets tired of waiting for you to read it to him — he’ll just sit down and read it himself.
  • Great phrases that led to some enlightening discussions:
    • “That is a matter of opinion.”  — This was a fun discussion to have with my three-year-old son.  Apparently, coffee being yucky is a fact and not merely his opinion.
    • “Purely coincidental” — Still working on how to explain what a coincidence is.  So far, I have:  When two things happen at the same time about the same thing that surprise you.
  • It creates a great opportunity to discussion personal hygiene and health without it being, “Mom is lecturing me again about germs.”
  • Your child may start running around saying, “Dude!” after reading this book.
  • It gives time some perspective.  The pigeon says he took a bath last month.  I tried to give my son an idea as to how long a month is — and he declared that a month is a very long time.
  • It’s engaging and interactive.  The pigeon and the man talking directly to the readers makes it practically impossible for the audience to zone out.  The readers are simply another character in the story.

How My Three-and-a-Half-Year-Old Son Responded to this Book:

When the book arrived it was late at night and it was my son’s bedtime.  I told him we would read it in the morning.  He said, “Okay, Mama.  But guard that book and make sure it doesn’t go away!  Stay up all night and make sure no one takes it.”

When we did read it, oh how he giggled!  He giggled through it the first time and by fifteenth time we read it — he was still giggling.  He did declare that he didn’t like the pigeon.  He didn’t like how the pigeon yelled and got angry.  He didn’t think the pigeon should act like that.  Later on he said, “Mama, the pigeon has some issues.”  (I’m not sure where he learned to say that, but it made me laugh rather hard.)

My son made the observation that the man in the book (the pigeon’s keeper? guardian? parental unit?) only has four fingers on each hand.  We then counted how many fingers he has on one hand and how many fingers I have.  I asked my son, “Why do you think he only has four fingers on one hand?”  He looked right at me in all seriousness and said, “I think a dog bit off one of his fingers.”  “That’s terrible!”  I responded.  “Yeah, it was really bad.  But let’s move on.”  So there you have it, in case you’re wondering why the human only has four fingers (technically three fingers and a thumb) — my son is sure the dog did it.  (For whatever reason, the man only has three on the other hand, but that didn’t bother my son at all.)

So really, we laughed a lot, discussed missing fingers, attempted to define coincidence in three-year-old terms, and debated whether or not coffee being yucky is a fact or opinion.  All in all, I’d say it was a very enriching experience.  Who knew a personal-hygiene-protesting pigeon could inspire so much?

Author/Illustrator Websites:

Other Reviews of this Book:


Where Obtained:  I received a review copy from the publisher.  No other compensation was received.  The opinions expressed here are my own.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

FTC Disclosures:  Some of the links in the post above are Amazon affiliate links and others are IndieBound affiliate links. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Which goes to fund my family’s picture book habit.  It’s a vicious cycle, but we manage.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. The mini-fleshling is having a pigeon fest at the moment. We already had bus and stay up late and puppy and feelings, I’ve ordered Duckling gets a cookie, we borrowed hot dog from the library and I’ve already put this one on hold at the library before it’s even been bought! Mwahahahahhaaaa!


  2. Pingback: The Versatile Blogger Award | Black Squirrel Workshop

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