The Yellow Bus

Roaring Brook. Jun. 2024. 48p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250903136.
K-Gr 2–What happens to the objects around us after they leave our lives? This bittersweet tale evokes Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House as it traces the long life of a yellow school bus. Starting with her intended purpose (the bus, though inanimate, is gendered) of taking children to and from school, as she ages, her purpose changes: she takes older folks to the library, becomes a gathering place for the unhoused, then a playground for goats, until at last she ends up at the bottom of a lake. The illustrations dazzle. In most spreads, the background is black and white, in graphite and charcoal pencil; the bus is painted in bright yellow acrylic paint, drawing the eye and emphasizing the joy of the bus (a repeated refrain in the text). When all hope seems lost, and the bus is in an empty urban lot, the color palette switches and readers view the inside of the bus as black and white, while the background is lit up with the yellows, oranges, and purples of a beautiful sunset. Finally, as the bus is fully submerged, there is a bird’s-eye view of a small but strong yellow glow of the bus underwater, still shining amid black and white surroundings. The author’s note at the end, describing how the art was made, is not to be missed, and could lead to interesting activities around making a paper village.
VERDICT A must-purchase, this book will leave readers looking at objects around them differently long after its covers are closed.

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