Pigeon Wants a Puppy! by Mo Willems takes home top honors in Wilsonville

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - A SMART reader and her student enjoy sharing a book together at Prescott Elementary in Portland.The 14th annual SMART (Start Making a Reader Today) book awards were announced earlier this month, with “The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!” by Mo Willems taking home the top prize in West Linn and Wilsonville.

The statewide award, which was voted on by 5,643 pre-kindergarten through third-grade students across Oregon, went to “Grumpy Cat” by Britta Teckentrup.

“The Pigeon Wants a Puppy!” came in second at the state level with 1,372 votes, as opposed to “Grumpy Cat’s” 1,424. The three other nominees this year were Giles Andreae’s “Giraffes Can’t Dance,” Willems’ “Knuffle Bunny” and Laura Numeroff’s “If You Give a Dog a Donut.”

“The Pigeon Wants A Puppy” is the fourth book in Willems’ running series starring a character appropriately named Pigeon. At 40 pages, the book’s plot is self-explanatory: Pigeon wants a puppy, and promises to take care of it. A puppy appears, but Pigeon is caught off guard by what he sees.

It’s exactly the type of engaging tale that SMART looks for in its nominees each year. Once the nominees are chosen, participating students spend the month of February reading each book and then cast their votes through secret ballots. The SMART book award is the only existing honor that is determined soley by students.

SMART is an Oregon nonprofit that was established back in 1992 as a means to empower students and drive home the importance of reading at an early age. Students involved in the program receive 14 books each year to take home and read at their leisure.

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