Friday, January 31, 2014

Is this the Bus for Us?

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.


  1. My boys always enjoyed books with a series of vehicles. I hope this has a few unusual ones. I haven't seen this book and will have to check it out!

  2. Another one I need to add to our library list. Thank you for sharing this one. My kiddo will likely enjoy it.

  3. Nice pick! I wish I'd known about it when the boys were littler.

  4. This sounds like a fun book. I like the repetition that Gus has to respond to. The Wheels on the Bus would be a complimentary activity. Nice choice for boys who like vehicles.

  5. Great choice for vehicle lovers!

  6. This looks like a good one! Guide dogs have to learn the right bus too! I'm adding this one to my list. Thanks!

  7. Love this book, Sue...more than that, I love your activity list...a parent or teacher could do an entire week or unit using this book! Fun, Fun, Fun!

  8. This is a new author to glad you introduced me!

  9. This sounds like a real fun book. I can just hear the kids singing... "the wheels on the bus go round and.... " Very cool!

  10. I love this book, Sue! It's such a great example of how writing can be so simple and so fun. Why can't we all be this brilliant? :) And Suzanne is such a lovely person - I'm glad you shared one of her books!