As Adam Rex and Christian Robinson’s School’s First Day of School (2016) gave readers a school building’s point of view, the McMullans now give kids a peek inside the mind of a school bus.
This bus is bold and in-your-face, trying almost too hard to be cool; it’s a persona that slightly clashes with the bus’ sway back, toothy grille grin, and huge windshield eyes. “Who am I? / Smarter than a rocket scientist, / More powerful than a monster truck, / able to halt traffic with the flick of a switch.” This bus only has three stops (shown on an aerial view of the town), so riders board in long lines. Other than noting that cars have to slow down for the bus’s amber flashing lights and stop for the red ones (or else get a ticket, as one speeding auto does), there are no safety rules here. The bus does have to wait its turn to get by a construction area, and it keeps the kids from getting rowdy by asking them questions: a raised hand signals yes. Another staple of bus riding gets a spread: going over a bump. In Jim McMullan’s watercolor illustration, the bus is shown in profile with the side removed, and the kids are hovering above their seats, motion lines showing the bounce and smiles on their faces. All in all, this feels like a pale dilution of the creators’ zippy first in this series, I Stink! (2002).
Takes credit away from the human bus drivers, who deserve a book of their own. (Picture book. 4-7)