Illustrated by Claire Messer
Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, September 3, 2019
Busy Bus takes a field trip—and becomes a little jealous of a shiny red fire truck—in a warm-hearted sequel to It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus! This darling picture book offers a gentle exploration of jealousy and a reminder that we each have our own unique talents that make us special.
Today is Busy Bus’s very first field trip! He takes the children to a fire house, where they meet Engine Four, a big, shiny, red firetruck. Engine Four has a hose to put out fires, a ladder to reach tall buildings, and a loud and impressive siren. Busy Bus has none of these things. Will the children still like him?
“Will an earnest school bus get the recognition it deserves?
Colorful, digitally enhanced lino prints and clear, minimal text tell the tale of a yellow bus, aka Busy Bus, on his first field trip. Unfortunately for Busy Bus, the trip is to a fire station to visit a fire truck. To the bus, the fire truck seems superior in every way; it is red, shiny, and huge, with hoses, a ladder, and a siren. Busy Bus looks close to tears—until the station’s captain mentions that there are some things the fire truck can’t do that Busy Bus can: protect children with a stop arm, carry students to and from school, bring kids on trips. An accessible tale of the pitfalls of invidious comparison and the importance of appreciating differences, this deceptively simple description of the ups and downs of new experiences, first field trips, and the characteristics of different vehicles will especially appeal to toddlers and young preschoolers who love buses and trucks. The children are a diverse crew, and their teacher is a black man—a welcome sight, as is the fact that the (light-skinned) firefighter captain is a woman.
Caregivers will find this to be a good conversation starter on topics such as strengths and weaknesses, insecurity, differences, and competition.” (Picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal:
“VERDICT Many preschool classrooms have a unit of community helpers, and this satisfying story will be perfect for such a unit.”
Full review here.
Unpacking the Power of Picture Books:
“As I wrote this draft and saved it to publish now, I had time to think about the importance of young children developing confidence and agency, how they learn to trust older and more experienced kids and adults. I marveled again at the skill in storytelling and simple imagery that brings BUSY BUS to life as so much more than a machine or a character. BUSY BUS is truly a friend to the reader, and a heroic model for the courage he summons despite his self-doubt.” -Sandy Brehl
Full review here.