A young boy comes up with a creative solution when an African minibus can’t make it up the hill.
The bus is off to the market, and Keb is the first inside. But there are many more stops, and soon, everyone is squeezing in, carrying fruit, vegetables, baskets and even a few goats! Dale’s jaunty text follows the rhythm of the bus over the bumps and turns: “Some climb on the roof, and more squash inside, / If only the bus had been made twice as wide!” Packed to the brim, the bus comes to a hill and can’t go any farther. Someone has to get off! The passengers start squabbling. Little Keb volunteers, but since he’s in the back, everyone else has to get off too. The bus makes it up the hill, and everyone gets to the market on time. The setting is never specifically mentioned, but the dusty landscape dotted with zebras and giraffes, along with Pal’s brightly saturated Pan-African–colored bus, gives a hint. It’s a lively trip and an equally lively text, but it’s too bad there’s no note on matatu minibuses beyond a reference in the author bio on the jacket flap. Adults may be charged with adding a bit more context.
A tangle of arms and legs and many smiling faces pressed in close—this is a cultural ride worth taking. (Picture book. 3-7)