cover image Bus Stop

Bus Stop

Angela H. Dale, illus. by Lala Watkins. Cameron Kids, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-951836-47-4

School day turns to snow day in a picture book that’s both appellative abecedarian and ebullient celebration of frosty weather. From Antoine to Zoey, a cast of bundled-up children of varying abilities and skin tones arrive at a bus stop to await transport: “Sleepy street./ Still./ Gray./ Empty bus stop./ School day.” Alliterative verbs pair with initial student names; portrayed with pigtail puffs and blue glasses, one brown-skinned child reads on a bench (“Beatrice burrows”), while a brown-skinned youth who uses a wheelchair catches snowflakes nearby (“Carlos catches”). Later name-verb constructs play with rhyme (“Hannah stomps./ Isaiah romps”) or simple verb consonance (“Joelle waltzes/ Kartik wonders”) as all the while the bus remains absent. Hinting visually at The Snowy Day, Watkins’s spare mixed-media illustrations capture the children’s evident glee as snowflakes fill the air and smudgy white paints the sidewalks. The playful moments work hand-in-hand with Dale’s energetic poetry as the book builds to the expected but no less jubilant explanation for the missing bus. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)