A young bus rider’s misfortune turns weird and delightful in Yang’s playful picture book.
The title page sets the scene: passengers line up by a bright red bus-stop sign. Turn the page and see the back end of a moving bus as a boy runs after it. The boy, of course, doesn’t catch up. Meanwhile, some anthropomorphic triangles take their place at the bus stop, while a green vehicle peeks out on the right page. The subsequent double-page spread reveals a long, tall bus full of triangle-shaped passengers. Naturally, the boy is shocked. “THAT is NOT my bus.” The boy watches it roll away as cowboys and a cowgirl waltz into the scene. Their ride? It’s a covered wagon, big and long…like a bus. “It does not look like MY bus,” says the boy as the covered wagon retreats and in comes a trio of sailors. Yang establishes a pattern from the get-go, piling on the outlandish and the fab (a bounce house in a domed bus?) in broad strokes. Drab, square buildings serve as a city backdrop, while color and curves bring to life the buses and passengers (varied in skin color and shape—the protagonist is orangey-brown). The sparse text pops up in small bursts to punctuate the proceedings. When the boy takes a chance on a cool-looking balloon bus, it’s a small triumph.
An imaginative, fun ode to bus travel and its many minor surprises. (Picture book. 2-5)