Riding the school bus will lose some of its allure and excitement but not its value for readers after seeing how kids around the world get to school.
McCarney points out that not all children who want to get an education are able to. But for those that can, getting there can be a challenge. Full-color photographs of children’s journeys fill the pages. These are labeled with the country, though the black text against mostly dark backgrounds makes them difficult (and a few times impossible) to read. The U.S. is first: a Caucasian boy with a backpack and lunchbox stretches a foot up to board an iconic bus. Some children in Cambodia and Indonesia use boats to get to school. In Nepal and Colombia, students may use a rope and a zip line–like apparatus to “fly across” obstacles. Donkeys, oxen, water buffalo, and dog teams play their parts, too. Beyond the sometimes-dangerous ways that kids travel around the world, what may strike readers the most is the lengths these kids will go to to learn: some carry their own water, as their schools lack this resource; others bring their own desks; and unstated but obvious from the pictures is that going to school in many countries requires a uniform, an added expense for poor families.
This is both a fascinating look at school around the world and a very subtle message to readers to appreciate what they have. (Informational picture book. 4-10)