The Pigeon Needs a Bath!


Author/Illustrator: Mo Willems

Publisher and Year: Hyperion Books for Children, 2014

Number of Pages: 32

Genre: Fiction

IMG_4397This dirty pigeon uses sarcasm and reverse psychology to get out of taking a bath. When his tactics don’t work and he is forced to take a bath, he realizes that baths aren’t so bad after all.

This book could work well as a way to get young, stubborn children to bathe. For some children, bathing isn’t the highlight of their day, so seeing the Pigeon do it could make them feel better about it.  Many parents could probably relate to the Pigeon’s parent who can’t seem to convince him to take a bath. The Pigeon Needs a Bath! Is a book that has some different humor, but is ultimately just a fun read. Like a typical parent-child relationship, the man (assuming he is the parent of the Pigeon) has the power to make the Pigeon take a bath. The Pigeon may feel that it is a choice, but in the end he will take a bath. Some parents could relate to this as well; they allow children to think that they have a choice if they do something, but in reality they don’t.

Perceptually, the entire book is just a conversation the Pigeon is having with himself. He invites the reader into the conversation a few times, but he is really just convincing himself that he shouldn’t take a bath. The text adds to the images, and the images are dependent on the text. Because the illustrations are so simple, it is not clear what exactly the scenes would mean without the text. Structurally, the pigeon is having conversations with the reader as if we someone is actually responding to him. This makes the reader feel more engaged with the book. Emphasized sounds help readers get acquainted with onomatopoeia.