“The Wheels on the Bus” and “Old MacDonald” Get Makeovers

BookendsLynn: Preschoolers across this country love the bouncy song, “The Wheels on the Bus.” I love it, too—because it’s one of the few songs I can remember the lyrics to! I’ve seen lots of picture-book versions over the years but now I have a new favorite, The Wheels on The Tuk Tuk (2015) by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal. If the song hasn’t already started running your head, let me give it a nudge:

The Wheels on the Tuk Tuk by Kabir Sehgal and Surishtha Sehgal

Tuk Tuk riders eat



poppa-doppa-doms . . .

All through the town.

Say what? Never fear, there’s a glossary in the back for unfamiliar words—but the charming illustrations explain most of them right away. A tuk tuk (pronounced “took took”) is a type of public transportation, like a shared taxi, found in India. Poppa-doppa-doms are crisp flat snacks made of dried lentils. Readers will happily add these new lyrics to their repertoire as they giggle through the journey.

Jess Golden’s bright, cheerful illustrations show a tuk tuk’s journey across a town as its passengers squish in, pay with rupees, bobble bobble bobble, and stop for cows and elephants. Occasionally the lyrics take a bit of effort to squish into the melody but neither I nor our focus group cared. This merry picture book is a gem for the classroom, too, as it can be used in so many ways, from lessons on different cultures and units on transportation to music classes or writing prompts. The writers of this blog go click, click, click . . . .

Old MacDonald Had a Truck by Steve GoetzCindy: Old MacDonald had a tuk tuk . . . NO! Old MacDonald had a . . . truck! Debut author Steve Goetz was prompted to take a new approach to another familiar song after his young son started substituting monster trucks for the traditional moo cows. The result is Old MacDonald Had a Truck (2016).

Old MacDonald had a front loader, E-I-E-I-O! With a SCOOP, SCOOP here, and a SCOOP, SCOOP there . . .

Well, you get the idea.

Old MacDonald has a lot of heavy equipment on the farm and his animal pals help him dig, scrape, scoop, dump, thump, and more while he is hard at work creating something that is only clear at book’s end. Meanwhile, Mrs. MacDonald and her animal friends are hard at work fixing up the old truck. She’s quite the mechanic, and . . . wait for it . . . monster-truck driver!

Eda Kaban’s pencil, gouache, and digitally constructed images perfectly complement this zany version of the traditional farm song while showing the farm in a new light. Young readers will see the ending and want to start over again to watch the construction with their new knowledge. And they’ll be singing all the way, E-I-E-I-O!



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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