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Don’t let the pigeon stay up late!

by Mo Willems
2006, 34 pages

My kids and I love this for two very different reasons.

They love it because they get to interact with the book. Pigeon desperately wants to stay up late. But a sleepy-looking fellow at the start of the book (the bus driver from the previous book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus) asks us to make sure the pigeon goes to bed. But the pigeon, like many a child we all know, doesn’t want to go to bed and has all sorts of excuses as to why he just has to stay up a little while longer.

  • “I’m not even tired!”
  • “How about five more minutes?”
  • “Can I have a glass of water?”
  • “Pleeeeeeaaaasssseeeeee!”
  • “I’ll go to bed early tomorrow night instead!”
  • “My bunny wants to stay up too!”

He has all sorts of strategies – sulking, whining, begging, reasoning – but it’s the children’s job to respond to each one with a firm “No!” They love laying down the law!

I love the book because it gave me a helpful word to sum up my children’s bedtime behavior. “That’s enough guys,” I’ll tell them, “You’re being pigeons and it is time to stop.” They know exactly what I mean, and on a good night pointing out what they are doing in this quick and clear way is all I need to bring bedtime to a close. I’m not going to say it works every time – this isn’t magic – but I do think any parent will benefit from having this bit of verbal shorthand in their parental toolbox.


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