cover image The Monster on the Bus

The Monster on the Bus

Josh Lieb, illus. by Hannah Marks. Razorbill, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-9848-3551-2

Anything could happen on the bus,” promises narrator Angelique, a child who reads as Black, at the start of this transportation-centered picture book, and the story delivers, mixing up “The Wheels on the Bus.” Lieb employs the song’s familiar cadences alongside a series of mural-like cutaway spreads by Marks. After the titular pink, furry monster eats the bus driver and takes their place, an evil scientist and other improbable passengers appear for a mayhem-filled journey en route to school (“The villain on the bus says ‘EARTH WILL PAY!’ ”). Coolheaded Angelique rallies the other kid riders, portrayed with varying skin tones, to demand a return to the quotidian, including regurgitating their bus driver (“The kids on the bus say, ‘COUGH HER UP!’ ”), who, with a little pink slime lingering here and there, is ready for what looks like an equally unpredictable ride home. Ages 4–8. (July)