The Bus for Us
By Suzanne Bloom
32 pages; ages 3-7
Boyds Mills Press, 2001
This is one of my favorite Suzanne Bloom books, so I can’t believe I haven’t written a review yet!
Theme: friendship, first day of school
The book opens with Tess pointing to something we can’t see yet, and asking her older friend, “Is this the bus for us, Gus?” As the front of the vehicle comes into sight, Gus answers, “No, Tess. This is a taxi/fire engine/backhoe/garbage truck….”
What I love about this book: the way Suzanne Bloom uses a simple repetitive question as a refrain for the story. I like that the story is completely in dialog, and that as each vehicle passes by more children arrive. They bring animals and lunches. Crayons spill out of backpacks, and Gus gets increasingly tired of being asked the same old question: Is this the bus for us? I also love the way Bloom includes a diversity of children in her illustrations.
Beyond the Book: Take your child – and a folding chair and a notebook - to the nearest bus stop and keep tally of all the kinds of vehicles that go by. Then when you return home, make a chart to show what sort of vehicles passed you by. It might be as simple as cutting pictures out of a magazine – or be more data-oriented, such as a bar graph comparing the number of cars, taxis, etc.
Reader’s theater: this is a perfect book for group participation. You could begin with two children – one asking the question, “Is this the bus for us?” and the other responding, “No, it’s a ___.” Then another child joins and two kids ask “Is this the bus…?”. After answer, another kid joins until everyone in the group is asking: Is this the bus for us? Finally, the answer is yes and everyone “sits” in a bus and sings “Wheels on the bus go round & round”.
Anagram search: Throughout the book the letters on the Bus Stop sign get mixed up. It starts off as a “Bus Stop” but on another page it’s a “Bus Post”. Find all the ways “Bus Stop” is rewritten…. And then play with some anagrams of your own.
Today's review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copy borrowed from a library.