cover image BUS-A-SAURUS BOP


Diane Z. Shore, , illus. by David Clark. . Bloomsbury, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-58234-850-6

In a thin story relayed through rhyme, debut author Shore reimagines a yellow school bus as a hungry, stiff-jointed creature. "Early in the mornin'/ when the sun is done a-snorin',/ the boppin' bus-a-saurus/ comes a-rippin' and a-roarin'./ .../ C-r-e-e-e-k/ cringin' as he stops,/ s-q-u-e-e-e-k / unhingin' his chops." Clark (Grumblebunny) pictures the bus-a-saurus as a spiny-backed reptile with dark gold skin and protruding nostrils where its headlights should be. The bus holds a two-sided stop/bop traffic sign with its curled chameleon tail, and it gazes out of two red, stalky eyes. At each stop, it opens its gaping maw and extends a long forked tongue. Students climb aboard and bounce around in its whale-like belly, behind a benign bus driver. When school is done, the bus "always bumbles back/ for an afternooner snack," and ejects every passenger with an energetic belch. In Clark's full-to-bursting illustrations, which recall David Catrow's, the heavy creature moves so fast that pavement lifts off the ground like a loose ribbon. Yet the bus-a-saurus does nothing but travel, and readers could easily revolt against empty raps about "skippin'" and "zippin'." Shore's bus-as-beast conceit might amuse bored riders, but there's not much content beyond the gulping and the burping. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)