I’M YOUR BUS

A cheery yellow school bus, grille grinning from headlight to headlight, introduces itself to the children it carries from home to school and back again in rhythmic, three-line stanzas: “Watch those backpacks coming through. / Have fun today. Learn something new. / Later I’ll come back for you.” Like any good bus, it works to remember the children’s names, punctuating its narration with personal greetings and goodbyes. The verse form is just right for eager preschoolers to latch onto, and Polenghi’s digital illustrations feature busy, colorful scenes with heavy, black outlines, the titular bus dominating every composition. As a first-day-of-school reassurance for newly minted kindergartners, for whom the school bus is an often anxiety-producing rite of passage, this one’s top-notch. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-545-08918-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

PUFF-PUFF, CHUGGA-CHUGGA

Wormell (Blue Rabbit and the Runaway Wheel, see above) seamlessly blends landscape and playscape in this tale of a wonderfully catastrophic train wreck. As if it’s not bad enough that blubbery Mrs. Walrus, Mr. Bear, and Mrs. Elephant forcibly wedge themselves into the train’s tiny cars for a shopping trip into town, on their return they’re carrying 600 sardines, 15 loaves of bread, pots of honey, and a mountain of fresh fruit. “ ‘It’s just a matter of balance,’ ” Mrs. Elephant cheerfully assures the worried conductor. Indeed it is—until a bee crawls up Mrs. Elephant’s trunk, prompting a monumental sneeze. Groceries are scattered everywhere. What to do? Invite everyone to a picnic! Rather than his usual polychrome woodcuts, Wormell creates soft-edged, colored-pencil drawings here for a “younger,” softer look, depicting a simply carved wooden train sturdily pulling three hilariously overloaded cars. Afterward, willing trunks and flippers reset the tumbled cars onto their tracks, and off the train chugs, leaving the bloated picnickers strewn about like beached whales. Ending on a peaceful, satiated note, this explosive episode makes a first-rate entry in the annals of picture-book sneezes. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83986-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: McElderry

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2000

THIS CAR

The creator of This Train (1999), This Plane (2000), and This Boat (2001) will continue to transport new and pre-readers with an array of vehicles at work and play. Between endpapers filled with paintings of identified autos, from the Benz Victoria (1893) to the jet-powered Thrust SSC (1997), Collicutt sandwiches larger generic portraits, each of a different type of car: big, small, powered by gas or solar energy, plowing snow, romping about on the Moon, and so on. With short, large-type captions focusing on contrasts—“This car has a closed top. This car has an open top”—and a rousing final close-up of an old-style racing car barreling past, this has everything but sound effects to please fans of wheeled and winged zoomers. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-6)

Pub Date: Aug. 26, 2002

ISBN: 0-374-39965-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2002

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