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IT'S YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL, BUSY BUS!

For vehicle enthusiasts just starting school.

A new bus is inspected on his first day.

Ben, the bus driver, opens the bus barn’s doors and says good morning to all the buses: Bossy, Zippy, Bouncy, Big, and the newest and smallest member of the fleet, Busy Bus. Busy Bus is very excited, and while Ben inspects his tires, tops up the gas, and adjusts the mirrors, “Busy Bus hopes the children will know they’re safe.” Ben moves inside to check the lights, stop arm, emergency door, fire extinguisher, and first aid kit while Busy Bus wonders if the children will “have fun” riding with him. Ben turns the motor on and checks the gauges and switches and wipers and brakes, but, inspection complete, Busy Bus has a sudden case of nerves: “What if I get homesick?…What if I don’t make any friends?” But one last touch from Ben steels the bus’s courage to go out and do his job. “Busy Bus is going to have a great year!” And hopefully readers will, too, though this book won’t do too much to calm their own fears or keep their interest if they are not into vehicle inspections. Still, the lino print and black ink illustrations with digital color are cute and cheerful, and readers will learn the parts of a bus. Ben presents white.

For vehicle enthusiasts just starting school. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: July 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9467-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2018

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IZZY GIZMO AND THE INVENTION CONVENTION

From the Izzy Gizmo series

A disappointing follow-up.

Inventor Izzy Gizmo is back in this sequel to her eponymous debut (2017).

While busily inventing one day, Izzy receives an invitation from the Genius Guild to their annual convention. Though Izzy’s “inventions…don’t always work,” Grandpa (apparently her sole caregiver) encourages her to go. The next day they undertake a long journey “over fields, hills, and waves” and “mile after mile” to isolated Technoff Isle. There, Izzy finds she must compete against four other kids to create the most impressive machine. The colorful, detail-rich illustrations chronicle how poor Izzy is thwarted at every turn by Abi von Lavish, a Veruca Salt–esque character who takes all the supplies for herself. But when Abi abandons her project, Izzy salvages the pieces and decides to take Grandpa’s advice to create a machine that “can really be put to good use.” A frustrated Izzy’s impatience with a friend almost foils her chance at the prize, but all’s well that ends well. There’s much to like: Brown-skinned inventor girl Izzy is an appealing character, it’s great to see a nurturing brown-skinned male caregiver, the idea of an “Invention Convention” is fun, and a sustainable-energy invention is laudable. However, these elements don’t make up for rhymes that often feel forced and a lackluster story.

A disappointing follow-up. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68263-164-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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STOP! BOT!

The visual details invite interaction, making it a good choice for storytime or solo inspection.

It’s a quiet day, until….

“I have a bot!” An excited child’s happiness is short-lived, for the remote-controlled toy escapes its wireless tether and begins an ascent up the side of a skyscraper. The building’s doorman launches a race to recover the bot, and soon everyone wants to help. Attempts to retrieve the bot, which is rendered as a red rectangle with a propeller, arms, and a rudimentary face, go from the mundanity of a broom to the absurd—a bright orange beehive hairdo and a person-sized Venus’ flytrap are just some of the silly implements the building’s occupants use to try to rein in the bot. Each double-page spread reveals another level of the building—and further visual hijinks—as the bot makes its way to the top, where an unexpected hero waits (keep an eye out for falling bananas). The tall, narrow trim size echoes the shape of the skyscraper, providing a sense of height as the bot rises. Text is minimal; short declarations in tidy black dialogue bubbles with white courier-style typeface leave the primary-colored, blocky art to effectively carry the story. Facial expressions—both human and bot—are comically spot-on. The bot-owning child has light skin, and there are several people of color among those trying to rescue the bot. One person wears a kufi.

The visual details invite interaction, making it a good choice for storytime or solo inspection. (Picture book. 2-6)

Pub Date: July 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-425-28881-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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