Marvelous New Picture Books Monday: The Pigeon Needs a Bath (I Do Not.) by Mo Willems


coverOur friend the pigeon is back! Today instead of wanting to drive a bus, he doesn’t want to take a bath. Similar to Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, the title page features the bus driver asking us to help convince the pigeon to take a bath. Willems is very intentional in his choice for the inside cover and title page, similar to Emily Gravett and The Rabbit Problem. 

inside cover


title page


As you can see, the inside cover sets the stage with the pigeon getting dirty playing in the mud.





The title page continues to set the stage and then launches the reader right into the problem.


last month




The story starts with the pigeon trying to remember the last time he took a bath which he believes was last month.



Next, the pigeon becomes angry that he’s being asked to take a bath and asserts that the reader is in fact the one who needs a bath. Then, the pigeon says that we shouldn’t waste time on things that are unimportant like taking a bath and that in some countries it’s impolite to take a bath, as if he was bargaining.

you need a bath




ill take a bath



It is not until a group of flies tell the pigeon that he smells bad and should take a bath,







that he begins to believe it and finally agrees to take a bath.

fickle bath time


fun in the tub




Before the pigeon gets in the tub, he’s like a little Goldilocks. This water is too cold, too hot, too lukewarm, not enough toys, too many toys, etc.




When he finally gets in the tub, he loves it! He sings, plays in the bubbles, swims like a fish, etc. He loves it so much he stays in for 10 hours and asks if he can stay in the tub forever.



Finally, the back cover is also intentional. As you can see the pigeon is having a ball in the tub.

back cover

I loved this book! It is the latest book in the pigeon book series. I thought it was a great example of a mirror. I remember the fight I would put up when it came to taking a bath, then, being extremely fickle in order to delay getting into the tub, and finally, once I was inside absolutely loving it. I think kids can absolutely relate to the pigeon’s journey into the tub. Another thing I found interesting was that the background for every page was empty until the flies came and then the backgrounds were plain once again. The blank backgrounds make the pigeon the focal point of every page. In addition, the reader is forced to stay focused on the story since there is nothing in the background acting as a distraction. The change in the background matches the change in the pigeon’s thinking about taking a bath.

Overall, I think this book would be perfect for children. It is very engaging and entertaining. It would be great for new readers as well because of its simplistic nature. Or it could be the perfect tool to get children in the bath. If pigeon can do it, anyone can do it!


– Chinassa Phillips


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