Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sonia and the Pigeon

Our child just finished a 10-day long obsession with one of her Christmas presents.... During that time, she watched less TV, her scissor skills skyrocketed, her ability to write her own name improved, and she discovered that she is pretty darn good at drawing pigeons.  What is this gift I'm raving about?  An activity book by Mo Willems called Don't Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book!, which is related to a hilarious series of picture books about an ornery Pigeon with big dreams.

Grandma JoJo had no idea that when she gave Sonia the book, Sonia would get so into it that she practically became a pigeon herself.  From December 30th through January 8th, she worked on this book for long stretches of time (sometimes an hour or more-- that's an EON when it comes to a 3.5-year-old) every single day after until she finished it yesterday.  The book includes tons of activities like coloring, dot-to-dots, puzzles, writing, cutting, simple crafts, games, and general silliness.  I can't believe how much fun Sonia had!  

The activities are intertwined with an overall story of the Pigeon & the Duckling hanging out and being chased by the Mad Cow.  Sonia loved this page, which asked you to color it while sticking your tongue out.

This page asked you to color it with your eyes closed, which we took turns doing while giggling.

One activity had you color a bunch of different sandwich components, cut them out, and then assemble a sandwich.


Sonia "wrote" a book and "published" a newspaper (made from pages removed from the book and stapled together once she drew & colored pictures and wrote/traced lots of words).  After she "wrote" the book, she held a book signing and gave autographs.  Seriously, what kind of activity books include these types of hilarious activities?

The creativity of this book continually amused us.  What do you do after creating a paper airplane for the Pigeon to fly?  Create an airport, of course.  Then, play a little game which involves throwing the paper airplane and trying to get it to land on the runway.

One of the Sonia's favorite set of activities started with creating Pigeon, Duckling, Mad Cow, and Bus Driver finger puppets.  We planned a puppet show (see the poster below), created a sandwich board advertising the show for Sonia to wear, created a huge map of the Pigeon's town, and performed the puppet show.  Each activity leads to another, which made it hard for Sonia to want to stop doing the activities (even if she needed to go to bed!).

(Sorry the pictures of the puppet show look a bit odd-- you can see the reflection of the puppets and puppeteers in the counter top!)

I think my personal favorite activity was making a bus....  Buses are sacred in the Pigeon universe, because the very first Pigeon book that Mo Willems wrote was about the Pigeon really, really, really wanting to drive a bus (even though the bus driver instructs the audience to refuse the Pigeon this privilege).  Sonia enjoyed vrooming the bus up and down the hallway.

I came up with a silly idea of cutting out old pictures of friends & family members and putting them in the bus windows.... From left to right: my preschool picture (age 4), Ike, Declan, & Kieran.

From left to right: Andrew, Sonia, Anthony, Aidan, & Sophie.

Oh, no-- look who is driving the bus!!  Sonia somehow convinced the bus driver to allow her behind the wheel.  Clear the sidewalks!

One of the first activities in the book teaches you how to draw the Pigeon, and then you have a bunch of chances throughout the rest of the activities to practice your Pigeon-drawing skills.  Sonia got really good at it, and yesterday, when I picked Sonia up from her first day back at preschool after winter break, she proudly showed me this painting she did during class (amazing her teachers in the process):

WHAT?!?!  Seriously, two weeks ago, Sosini was barely able to draw a smiley face.  Now, she can free-hand a Mo Willems Pigeon from memory.  She is cutting with scissors like a pro.  She's writing her name better than before Christmas.  It is very clearly a direct result of her love of this activity book.  

Thank you, Grandma JoJo!  And a HUGE thank you to Mo Willems!!  Now, how would you feel about writing another one?


Niki said...

So what is happening now? Does Sonia need to go through a withdrawal program now that the book is done? Great job finishing the book, Sonia!!!

mr. warburton said...


Thanks for the sooper triple great review!

I did a post about it over here: