SCHOOL BUS by Donald  Crews


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There's probably no more potent visual statement in American child-life than the ubiquitous yellow school bus. Crews catches some aspects of this universal drama, and misses others. The jacket is splendid--the acid yellow of the bus against cream; so is the opening spread--"yellow school buses" massed, row upon row. Then comes two school buses, "Large and small." And, at an intersection: "Empty yellow buses cross the town." "Going this way," "Going that way," they pick up children. "Here it comes" to the kids lined up at the curb. But after "Full buses head for school," the enterprise goes limp: instead of kids piling out and horsing around, there's the caption "Right on time"--and the kids file almost decorously under a pinky-lavender canopy with the letters SCHOOL. Going home, there's no sign of a change in demeanor, and little of the familiar homecoming drama either. Stylistically, Crews has tried combining his well-known flat forms with lighter-colored, looser-outlined figures and a watery wash for the landscape features (buildings, trees, grass). It could be both vitalizing and humanizing--but it doesn't quite work. The watercolor forms are truly wishy-washy; the figures are still unindividuated; and graying-over the windows of the bus (presumably to suggest the reflectiveness of glass) seems an especially unfortunate decision--it obliterates the kids from the outside; and obliterates the outside from them. Altogether: more an out-line of the daily school bus to-and-from than a dramatization.
Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1984
ISBN: 0688122671
Page count: 36pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1984


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