Toddlers act out the classic song using American Sign Language.
Accompanied by a collection of toy buses, the youngsters on each double-page spread share one or two lines of “The Wheels on the Bus” and demonstrate the signs for key words (wheel, bus, wipers, etc.). Small italicized captions label them, and directional arrows provide guidance for performing the signs, but those learning ASL would be hard-pressed to learn these signs from the artwork alone. In an inviting Helen Oxenbury–like style, the little ones are drawn as simple cartoons in what looks like charcoal followed by a watercolor wash of muted and bold hues. Only the complete first verse is shared on the opening pages, and partial stanzas are included thereafter as a space-saving device. Also in the series, Old Macdonald (978-1-84643-628-4) follows a similar format, with little ones sharing the signs and lyrics of the song surrounded by toys relating to the verse in question. On the last double-page spread, the toddlers sign the letters in “Ee I Ee I O!” Though they have equally appealing art, the three final books in the series have some flaws. Some of the captions for the signs are missing from Humpty Dumpty (978-1-84643-627-7). The action depicted here, of a tyke falling off a pillow “wall” and rescuers in dress-up clothes appearing on the scene, is nearly identical to the antics of another Child’s Play version of the rhyme illustrated by Annie Kubler (2010, 978-1-84643-339-9). In Jack and Jill (978-1-84643-69-1), a little girl shares the sign for “house” when the word for “home” appears within the text in the song’s little-known second verse. A similar gang of young children act out the story of Five Little Ducks (978-1-84643-630-7) in this series’ version of the song instead of ducks, which concrete learners may find confusing.
This series is not for novice singers of these classic songs nor those new to ASL, but the experienced should find them a delightful tool to aid singing and signing. (Board book. 6-18 mos.)