Mo Willems exhibit coming to ECHO, Leahy Center

The Pigeon Comes to Burlington: A Mo Willems Exhibit makes its debut at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 25, at ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain.

Co-organized by Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the exhibit is inspired by the art and characters of the beloved children’s book author and illustrator Mo Willems.

Many familiar characters will be featured, including best friend duo Elephant and Piggie, faithful companion Knuffle Bunny and The Pigeon, the wily city bird best known for his antics in “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!”

Activities will give visitors the opportunity to make art that is inspired by Mo Willems and to learn about the rich social and emotional lives of the author’s characters.

The exhibit will also feature prints of illustrations, including sketches and other preliminary materials, by Willems.

In this play-and-learn exhibit, visitors can:

• Have a hilarious conversation in the voices of Elephant Gerald and Piggie at a double-sided phone booth.
• Make Elephant and Piggie dance with old-time animation.
• Put on a wearable bus and take a drive around the exhibit.
• Spin the laundromat washing machine and uncover Knuffle Bunny and other surprises.
• Dress up Naked Mole Rat and send him down the runway for a one-of-a-kind fashion show.
• Stack lightweight blocks to create their own terrible monster or funny friend.
• Launch foam hot dogs at The Pigeon and play the plinko game to give the Duckling a cookie.
• Try out art techniques that Mo uses for his own books.

“Mo Willems has captured the hearts and imaginations of so many avid readers — both young and old,” said Ted Lawson, ECHO’s executive director. “We are so excited to bring Willems’ characters and stories to life here at ECHO for our Vermont community.”

The Pigeon Comes to Burlington! A Mo Willems Exhibit will be on display at ECHO from Saturday, May 25, through Sunday, Jan. 5, 2025.

ECHO is open seven days a week 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 802-864-1848 or visit

Willems is an author, illustrator, animator, playwright and the inaugural Kennedy Center Education artist-in-residence, where he collaborates in creating fun new stuff involving classical music, opera, comedy concerts, dance, painting and digital works with the National Symphony Orchestra, Ben Folds, Yo-Yo Ma and others.

Willems is best known for his No. 1 New York Times bestselling picture books, which have been awarded three Caldecott Honors (“Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!,” “Knuffle Bunny,” “Knuffle Bunny Too”), two Theodor Geisel Medals and five Geisel Honors (The Elephant & Piggie series).

Willems’ art has been exhibited around the world, including major solo retrospectives at the High Museum (Atlanta) and the New-York Historical Society (NYC). Over the last decade, Willems has become the most produced playwright of theater for young audiences in America, having written or co-written four musicals based on his books.

He began his career as a writer and animator on PBS’ Sesame Street, where he garnered six Emmy Awards for writing.