Sunday, September 10, 2006

Don't Let the Steelers Drive the Bus

This weekend I went to Storywalk, the annual outdoor celebration of read-aloud glee that's sponsored by Beginning With Books, a early literacy program based here in Pittsburgh. It works like this: giant dioramas of picture books are set up all through a park, and volunteers are stationed at each one, reading the stories again and again to whomever happens to stroll by. (There's also scads of craft tables, cookies, fruit, and free books. And it's all free. See why we go every year?)

Anyway, one of the dioramas was devoted to the preschooler-giggle-inducing Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems. Here's the thing: there's a spread in the book wherein the pigeon screams, "PLEASE LET ME DRIVE THE BUS!" When the Storywalk volunteer reached this moment in the book, she took time to stop and point out how Willems emphasized the pigeon's words by drawing them big, bold . . . and black-and-gold.

Now this may not mean anything to you, but as soon as the volunteer pointed this out, about half of the audience -- kids and adults alike -- immediately began to shout the Steelers fight song.

Yeah -- it took me a second to get it -- the pigeon's words were the same colors as the Pittsburgh Steelers' uniforms. Arrgh. Not that I have anything against the Steelers or team spirit or whatever, but come on. Football season just started. And it's a picture book about a pigeon.



eisha said...

Oh, well. It's a sneaky way to get kids excited about a book, I guess. But I don't think the Pigeon needs any enhancement - he rocks pretty hard on his own.

Louise said...

I love this book! I volunteer to read with kids and we used this book at a volunteer training last year to show volunteers "how to" read aloud to kids (ie: cut loose, be expressive and have fun).

Totally agree it stands alone. No gimmicks required to make the pigeon rock :)