From Our Listeners


When you consider cartoons, you generally think of something you read or look at on a page. You probably don't think of cartooning as something you do on the radio, but our friend Mo Willems is about to change that. Willems is an award-winning children's author and illustrator. His many books include "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus," featuring that one-eyed, very nervous pigeon, and a series of "Elephant and Piggy" readers for children. Willems began his career on "Sesame Street," where he won six Emmys for writing. When we last talked to him, he raised an interesting idea. He wanted to become a radio cartoonist. How could we refuse? So here is, with us on the radio. Welcome, Mo Willems.

Mr. MO WILLEMS (Writer, Illustrator): Hi, Michele. It's great to be here.

NORRIS: What'd you bring for us?

Mr. WILLEMS: Well, I've got a cartoon for you today that I hope that you're going to enjoy. And it involves a restaurant scene. It's sort of a simple restaurant, the checkerboard on the table cloth is red and white, that sort of thing. The waitress is a elderly lady, blue-haired lady. And the customer's a middle-aged guy who looks pretty sad and pretty shocked as the waitress says: Before I go over today's specials, I'd just like to mention how disappointed I am in you. And the caption reads: family-style restaurant.

NORRIS: Ah, okay. So I actually have a copy of the cartoon in a special, yellow folder, and I'm opening it up. And there I see the befuddled fellow.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NORRIS: We actually let our listeners in on this, and we invited them to send us captions. They were able to go to the Web site, take a look at the cartoon before I even got a chance to take a look at the cartoon, and they sent us some of their suggested captions. We should say that we got hundreds of responses from listeners who took a look at this on the Web site.

Mr. WILLEMS: Awesome. Awesome. I'm just hoping they're not much, much funnier than mine.

NORRIS: Well, they're pretty good, Mo. They're actually pretty good.

Mr. WILLEMS: Awesome.

NORRIS: This is from a fellow named - you're not going to believe this -Michael Huckabee.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. WILLEMS: Well, I guess he doesn't have much to do right now.

NORRIS: Well, he's - this Michael Huckabee is from Tucson, Arizona, but let's pretend like it's a former presidential candidate who's masquerading as an NPR listener.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NORRIS: And he says, this fellow, in the sort of thought bubble above his head, should be saying: Why do I always get the usual? Why?

Mr. WILLEMS: That's good. That's good.

NORRIS: That's good? That's good?

Mr. WILLEMS: Yeah.

NORRIS: Okay. All right. We've got another one. This is from Kevin Johnson of Indialantic, Florida. This is what he says: Brunch-mare.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. WILLEMS: That's great.

NORRIS: Like nightmare.

Mr. WILLEMS: I think anything that ends with mare is a winner in my book. That's awesome.

NORRIS: Well, Mo, thanks so much. This was fun. I look forward to our next chat.

Mr. WILLEMS: And I can't wait for it.

NORRIS: And you can see Mo's first radio cartoon and read some of the captions contributed by you, our listeners. Just go to

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from