I'm Your Bus by Marilyn Singer

im-your-busCindy: There’s nothing scarier than navigating your first school bus ride, unless it is working as a middle school bus driver! 🙂 Talk about an underappreciated profession! I’m Your Bus (Scholastic, 2009) is a book to soothe young children and to give to your favorite bus drivers as a thank you gift. The digitally designed, large, bright illustrations by Evan Polenghi are perfect for sharing in storytime as the smiling yellow school bus details his busy, helpful day in Singer’s cheerful rhymes:

Yay! the school day’s at an end.
Kids are leaving. They depend
on each bus to be a friend.
Buses lined up in a row.
Lisa, Devin, Chloe, Mo,
find your bus and off you’ll go!

scans-jun-09082I remember staying awake all night before the first day of third grade fretting that I wouldn’t remember which bus number to take home at the end of the day even though I’d successfully done so in previous years. This is a perfect book for Kindergarten and early elementary teachers to read to their nervous students who commute by school bus as the new school year gets underway.

We’ve shared lots of photos of our focus group, Lynn’s grandsons Mason and Hayden, but I am feeling nostalgic. I just sent my oldest daughter off to college and remember meeting Kim’s bus at the end of her first day of Kindergarten for this photo. The next year I was there for daughter Kate’s exit off the bus. In typical Kate style, she stuck her tongue out at me for the photo, tripped on her bookbag strap and hit the pavement scraping both knees. When she got up she had brown fluid all over her new dress and dripping out of her bag. Asked what it was, she replied, “It’s my chocolate milk.” Turns out she didn’t have time to finish her chocolate milk at lunch and didn’t know what to do with it so she put the open carton in her backpack and brought it home. Those first days of school are rough for the kids, the staff, and the parents. Hang tough.

Lynn: This cheerful bouncy book is ideal for back-to-school story times or for a parent to share with a nervous child. Polenghi’s bright rounded drawings remind me of the Little Golden Books of my own childhood. The black outline highlights the images and is wonderfully designed for the smallest readers. Perfect too for those “my neighborhood” units. Our focus group really enjoyed this book and they especially liked the pages about the buses at night, sleeping and getting ready for a new day.

scans-jun-09083 As kindergartners, the boys had the most awesome bus drivers – welcoming, reasurring and careful. In fact, they loved riding the bus so much that on their first day of school, they forgot to get off! The bus driver finally had to call their names and remind them this was their stop. Here they are on their first day of school last year. Hats off to bus drivers everywhere!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

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