Bottom line: if you’re a fan of Mo Willems’ Pigeon, you gotta get this app. Brings the books to life with fun interactions and plenty of opportunity for kids to use their imaginations. A must-have.
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I don’t even know where to start telling you how much I love this app.
Let’s begin with the books. Are you and your kids acquainted with Mo Willems and his hilarious Pigeon? If not, get thee to a library or a bookstore RIGHT NOW and get Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, the pigeon’s debut book and an instant classic. You should also get your hands on Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late, The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog, and all the other books that will show you just what a lovable character the Pigeon is, and what a complete nut Mo Willems must be.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
You’re back now? Okay, good. Now that you’re fully immersed in pigeon culture, download this terrific app and make your own — I mean, let YOUR KIDS make their own — Pigeon stories. Narrated by Willems himself, developed by Small Planet Digital, and released by Disney Books, the app is a chance to get to know the Pigeon better, and better understand the mind that created him.
The app has three levels: Egg, Chick and Big Pigeon, so that kids of all ages can create their own Pigeon stories, regardless of ability to read. At Egg level, it’s really just a storybook app — the reader shakes the Pigeon (which is hilarious in and of itself), and every shake results in a different story. Don’t let the Pigeon kiss the cat. Don’t let the Pigeon be the principal. Don’t let the Pigeon wear purple underwear. Kids can turn the text on or off to read along or not. There’s no option to turn the narration off, but really, why would you want to? Willems’ voice as the Pigeon is the best part of the app.
At Chick level, it’s like a game of Mad Libs. The Bus Driver asks some multiple choice questions, and the resulting story is a hoot. Your little darling can even record her name, so that when the title page comes up, it will say “by Mo Willems and . . .” your kid. Brilliant, I tell you.
But the pièce de résistance is the Big Pigeon level, where there are no barriers to your kid’s imagination. The Bus Driver asks the same multiple choice questions as in the Chick level, but this time, your kid can record any answer he wants. The potential is boundless. Once all answers are recorded, the user shakes the Pigeon and the story comes to life. Rarely have my kid and I laughed so hard together. So far we’ve created stories titled Don’t Let the Pigeon . . .
- Put Makeup On
- Eat Your Homework
- Bite the Dog
- Date Your Mom
And many, many others. The app saves six stories at a time, which is awesome, but my daughter has been distressed to find that she can’t save EVERY creation. I sort of wish she could, too.
A word of warning: there’s great potential here for bathroom humor. At one point the Bus Driver asks the user to name something smelly, and my daughter has certainly risen to the challenge. She loves that part, and I don’t mind it, either, as long as it doesn’t get too out of hand. But I’ve found I do have to monitor her a bit unless I want to hear stories about some most unladylike subjects.
Mo Willems, formerly a writer/animator on Sesame Street, also narrates a section called “Draw the Pigeon,” which, as promised, walks the user through the fairly simply process of creating his or her own Pigeon. I have to admit I’m pretty fond of this part myself, largely because Willems’ instructional video is so funny. My daughter and I have both saved our creations and even posted them on Facebook.
The final section is called “Boring Stuff,” and is, as you would expect, all the parent info that kids don’t want to know. The app contains no external links, no ads and no in-app purchases, which I love. Of course, an app that costs $5.99 would really be pushing its luck with me if it asked for additional money on top of that price. But in spite of the high price, you really have to get this app. It’s worth every cent. It has more repeat play potential than pretty much any other app I’ve ever seen, and it’s full of interactive genius. And for us, it’s led to some of the best together time we’ve had lately — laughing over Mo Willems’ quirky sense of humor and my daughter’s equally bizarre additions to his stories.
This one needs to be part of your app collection for your kids’ sake, but I dare you not to play it yourself.
When Emilie's daughter composed a Pigeon story title Don't Let the Pigeon Pee in the Pool, that's where she drew the line. SmartAppsForKids.com was provided with a free copy of this app for review purposes. No other compensation was provided.