Clara (named only on the book jacket) narrates her own story of the first time she goes to Grandma’s house on the bus by herself.
Of course, she isn’t really alone. Quite a cast of characters joins her on the wide, spacious vehicle. They are all animals dressed (more or less) in people clothes and doing what people do on buses: knitting; reading the newspaper (whose headlines often relate to the action); napping. In fact, the sloth pretty much sleeps through the whole trip. Clara shares a cookie with a friendly wolf tot, is kind of freaked out by the darkness as the bus goes through a tunnel, and notes the mix-up when the knitting owl’s blue chapeau ends up on someone else’s head and the baby wolf’s binky ends up in his dad’s mouth. She even helps thwart a robbery! In delicately sketched but clear strokes Dubuc takes characters and readers through countryside and forest, and Clara reaches her destination, where her grandmother waits for her at the bus stop, looking very like Clara’s own mom but with silver hair. The exaggerated proportions of the book (6.75 inches high and 11 inches wide) echo that of the bus Clara rides in and make for dramatic double-page spreads.
Good for imagination and travel, this merry bus ride has glimmers of “Little Red Riding Hood” but is entirely itself. (Picture book. 4-8)