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Illustrated by Claire Messer
Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, September 3, 2019
ISBN: 978-1534440814

It’s a Field Trip Coloring Sheet

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.”

Sally James, South Hillsborough Elementary School, Hillsborough, CA , Jul 31, 2019

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.


It’s a Field Trip, Busy Bus! is a “fabulous book about field trips!” See review here.

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Illustrated by Claire Messer
Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, July 3, 2018
ISBN: 978-1481494670

FREE to download

BUSY BUS coloring page
Discussion and Activity Guide

It’s the first day of school! But is Busy Bus ready? Find out in this darling picture book that showcases the excitement and worries little ones experience as they prepare for their first day.

Today is the very first day of school! Busy Bus is excited, but he also has some first-day jitters. Will the children like him? Will he be homesick? What if he gets lost?! Luckily, bus driver Ben knows just what to do to make sure that the school year gets off to a great start.

Praise for BUSY BUS…

School Library Journal – PreS-Gr 1–Although Busy Bus is nervous about meeting the children, Ben the bus driver performs final preparations for the first day by checking the tires, windshield wipers, and other safety precautions to reassure Busy Bus before they pick up the children. The illustrations, created with lino prints, black ink, and digital colors, use rounded shapes and a soft, limited color palette. Each scene takes up the full page spread and the illustrations make good use of white space, especially when framing Busy Bus’s most intense moments of anxiety about whether he will miss home or make new friends. The words and pictures together create the gentle introduction to the school bus and leave readers with the knowledge that Busy Bus is safe, clean, and ready for a great school year. VERDICT An excellent read-aloud for young children, especially during the first weeks of the school year or if children have worries about riding the school bus. – Kelly Topita

Publisher’s Weekly full review is here! “Fans of stories about trucks and how things work will enjoy the behind-the-scenes action at the bus barn…”

Kirkus full review is here! “For vehicle enthusiasts just starting school.”

Youth Services Book Review is here! “A perfect back to school read aloud…This is the perfect addition to back-to -school themed story times or one on one sharing.”

Celebrate Picture Books
Everyday Reading
Unleashing Readers
Everyday Reading
Writing and Illustrating
Kirsti Call
Beagles and Books
Unpacking the Power of Picture Books
Bookworm for Kids
Working Mother
Amazon Book Review

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