The Bus Ride

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by Marianne Dubuc (Kids Can Press, 2015)

This delightful, mind-stretchy book is by the creator of one of my 2014 favorites, The Lion and the Bird. Remember that one?

And this book has been out for over a year, but it’s taken a while to wrap my brain around its brilliance.

It’s a little bit sweet and a little bit surreal.

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There’s our girl, a little Red of sorts. Waiting at the bus stop with her basket, on her way to visit her grandmother. Of course. And the book itself, a trim size perfect for a bus ride. A long stage for the passengers to be the stars of this show.

And red endpapers, of course.

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What’s so interesting (and challenging!) about this book is that the scene never changes. The bus stops and starts and new characters come and go, but the bus itself is the same.

Well that, and this sloth.

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This cat lady knits a scarf, a red one, that gets a teensy bit longer as the journey continues. That turtle hangs his head in boredom and the sloth sleeps.

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And on the wheels go, through a forest seen right through the windows.

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The turtle gets spooked by the tiny mole baby, and the sloth still sleeps.

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And when the bus goes into a tunnel, there’s a rumble-jumble on the bus. (According to the paper’s headline, which is a treat for any reader’s eagle eyes.) It’s a rumble-jumble that invites a prowler inside and bumps the sloth to another shoulder to sleep on.

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After the darkness, a pickpocketer. A big box. A sloth hug. A stop.

A grandma’s house.

This is a story about courage, everyday kindnesses, and adventures that are as simple as sharing shortbread cookies. I could get on that bus, couldn’t you?

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5 Comments

  • Posted April 13, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I was mesmerized by this book too. Thanks for reminding me how beautiful this was to read.

  • Posted April 13, 2016 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I’m so glad to see this post today, Carter! THE LION AND THE BIRD is one of my favorites too (and a mentor text for my current project), but I realize now that for some reason I’ve never looked into reading any more of Marianne Dubuc’s books. Looking forward to checking out THE BUS RIDE. Thank you!

  • Jilanne Hoffmann
    Posted April 13, 2016 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I am intrigued by the shadows on the bus. Love how this is done. Thanks for introducing me to a new author. I know The Lion and the Little Red Bird (a lovely book about color and friendship), but not the Lion and the Bird.

  • Posted April 13, 2016 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Look lovely — thanks for the rec.

  • Posted April 14, 2016 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Oh, I need to see this! I’m such a huge fan of Marianne’s work–The Lion and the Bird is one of my all-time favorites. Thanks for sharing!