THE PIGEON FINDS A HOT DOG!
In Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, the hero was subordinate to an unseen person who withheld bus-driving permission; here he has the dominant role and must placate his own pesky interloper, as he bargains with a duckling over a discarded hot dog. The tale, conveyed in the same pleasing emotive dialogue and gestures, opens with the pigeon's thrilled discovery of the title snack: "Oooooh! A hot dog!/ Yummy! Yummy! Yummy!" Suddenly, a smaller yellow bird enters from the lower right corner and asks, in rounded lower-case letters, "Is that a 'hot dog'?" "Not a hot dog; my hot dog," the pigeon sniffs, but his reply gives the duckling a rhetorical advantage. "What do they taste like?" it wonders aloud. The pigeon knows the duckling's disingenuous game, but his suspicious, hooded eyes and frowning beak suggest uncertainty. The trickster, meanwhile, regards the pigeon through flirtatious blue eyes and coyly tilts its teardrop shaped beak. The pigeon glares at the audience ("Can you believe this guy!?!"), shouts "That's it! " in bold two-inch-tall caps and throws an eight-stage temper tantrum before splitting the wiener in half. "Hmmmm, needs mustard," says the duck. Through voice bubbles, body language, and expressive sizes and shapes of type, Willems crafts a comical give-and-take between the characters. He sketches both iconic birds in decisive crayony lines and tints the pages with smooth pastel hues. Readers of all ages won't be able to resist miming the sly conversation in this satisfying sequel. Ages 2-6. (May)