Gus, the Dinosaur Bus

Julia Liu, illus. by Bei Lynn. Houghton Mifflin, $12.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-547-90573-0
Liu begins with the high points of a unique student transport system: “Who needs a bus stop when you have a dinosaur bus? Gus comes right to the door.” Attendance improves, too: “Nobody sleeps late or pretends to be sick. They can’t wait for Gus to arrive.” But there are problems, as Lynn’s goofy, childlike drawings show. “Lately, the school is getting more and more complaints.... The bills to fix the things Gus has broken are piling up.” At last the principal has to shut the dinosaur bus down, and Gus is brokenhearted until the children discover that he makes an excellent living playground. Lynn’s scrawled figures convey a surprising amount of feeling, as when the harassed principal is shown a photo of some new damage Gus has caused and hangs his head in despair. Liu focuses less on Gus as a character and more on a lighthearted examination of dinosaur infrastructure, a lure for kids interested in buses, highways, and big things generally. The ending doesn’t quite live up to the initial excitement, but it’s still a promising outing from this Taiwanese duo. Ages 4–8. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 07/09/2013
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 32 pages - 978-0-544-05292-5
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