National School Bus Safety Week
Oct. 15 - 21, 2006
The sight of a big yellow bus announces the start of school and everyone is reminded that fall is just around the corner. While school bus safety is extremely important ever day, the third full week in October is designated National School Bus Safety Week. The theme for this year's School Bus Safety Week is "Be Aware - Cross with Care".
The National Association for Pupil Transportation web site http://www.napt.org gives lots of information for teachers and parents working with children (over 10 billion of them) who ride 4 billion miles on school buses each year. The artwork used to promote National School Bus Safety Week each year is created in a nationwide contest for students in grades K-8. Find more information about the contest at their web site. This year's poster contest was won by Byron Knaus from Westphalia, Kansas. What would you have drawn to reflect this year's theme? Perhaps, in your neighborhood students call the bus the "big cheese" because of its bright yellow color. Imagine a giant block of cheese with wheels and a driver! Browse through the books listed below for a wide selection of books about buses - both serious and funny.Contributor: Sheilah Egan
Axle Annie and the Speed Grump
Pictures by Tedd Arnold
Axle Annie, school bus driver extraordinaire, always has two hands on the wheel and nerves of steel. And that comes in handy when dealing with Rush Hotfoot, Burskyville's number one speed grump. Rush is always in a hurry and always in a bad mood, driving full blast to wherever it is he is going. Whenever the kids see Rush's car they yell, "Here comes Rush! He's bearing down fast! Driving full blast!" Then they tell Axle Annie the ridiculous things he is doing while driving, like shaving, brushing his teeth, plucking his nose hairs, even changing out of his pajamas. Axle Annie shakes her head and warns the kids to be extra careful when getting on and off the bus. When Rush ignores the bus stop sign arm, however, Axle Annie has had enough. She radios the police, who give him a ticket for breaking the law. Now Rush is madder than ever. But when his reckless driving almost results in his car plunging off the Great Gulping Gulch Bridge, it is Axle Annie to the rescue. Pulver's silly text and Arnold's whimsical illustrations, complete with his trademark bug-eyed characters, combine to provide tons of kid appeal. And with a subtle lesson in road safety that is just goofy enough to make an impression, Axle Annie's story is sure to become a favorite. 2005, Dial Books for Young Readers/Penguin, $16.99. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Pat Trattles (Children's Literature).
Part of the "Pull Ahead Books-Mighty Movers" series, this title details information about buses in a simple format. Each page is dominated by a large color photograph and accompanied by a rich yet uncomplicated text. The book begins by highlighting a school bus. Safety rules for passengers as well as definitions of bus parts are presented. Readers will experience a bus ride from the bus stop to school as well as see the bus garage where buses are serviced while students are in school. Transit and intercity buses are discussed to encourage the reader to compare and recognize different bus attributes. Words that are in bold throughout the text are defined in the book's glossary. An index, as well as an interesting facts section, is also included. Young readers will enjoy this book and feel better equipped when facing a first time trip on a bus. 2005, Lerner Publications Company, $22.60 and $5.95. Ages 2 to 6. Reviewer: Andrea Sears Andrews (Children's Literature).
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
There are many books that can deepen a child's early reading experiences and strengthen skills without much work. Take, for example, Mo Willems' Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The book opens with a bus driver warning the reader: "Don't let the pigeon drive the bus!" The driver leaves and a blue bird arrives. He begs, pleads, bargains, and threatens--he wants to drive that bus! Though the pictures are static and don't provide clues about the text, the print is large and clear, there are repeated phrases, and an interactive text which make it an ideal shared read. As you point out familiar words and reread the overly-dramatic pigeon monologues, you will build both reading delight and abilities. 2003, Hyperion, $12.99. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewer: Susie Wilde (Children's Literature).
In this picture book with simple pictures and lots of empty space, a cute blue pigeon begs the reader to let him drive the bus while the bus driver is gone. He implores, promises, whines, begs, bribes (like I don't get enough of this from my kids) in order to get his chance. He says things like, "I bet your mom would let me" or "I have dreams you know." This could actually be a sad book (hey, I was always the kid who wanted the Trix rabbit to actually get some Trix) except for the last two pages. After the bus drives off leaving the pigeon looking dejected, a semi drives up, the pigeon looks at it, and says, "Hey...," and the end papers of the book have the pigeon smiling, eyes closed as he envisions himself driving a semi. Nice touch. 2003, Hyperion Books, $12.99. Ages 5 to 7. Reviewer: Sharon Levin (Children's Literature).
Best Children's Books of the Year, 2004; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Booklist Book Review Stars, Sep. 1, 2003; United States
Bulletin Blue Ribbons, 2003; Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books; United States
Capitol Choices, 2004; The Capitol Choices Committee; United States
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2004; H.W. Wilson
The Children's Literature Choice List, 2004; Children's Literature; United States
Choices, 2004; Cooperative Children's Book Center; United States
Editors' Choice: Books for Youth, 2003; American Library Association-Booklist; United States
Notable Children's Books, 2004; American Library Association-ALSC; United States
Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts, 2004; NCTE Children's Literature Assembly; United States
School Library Journal Book Review Stars, May 2003; Cahners; United States
Awards, Honors, Prizes:
Buckaroo Book Award Winner 2005 Wyoming
Charlotte Zolotow Award Highly Commended 2004 United States
Colorado Children's Book Award Runner-Up 2005 Picture Book Colorado
Colorado Children's Book Award Runner Up 2005 Picture Book Colorado
Flicker Tale Children's Book Award Winner 2005 Picture Book North Dakota
Golden Archer Award Winner 2005 Primary Wisconsin
Kentucky Bluegrass Award Winner 2005 Grades K-2 Kentucky
Original Voices Award Finalist 2003 Picture Book United States
Randolph Caldecott Medal Honor Book 2004 United States
Red Clover Children's Choice Picture Book Award Winner 2005 Vermont
South Carolina Picture Book Award Winner 2006 United States
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
Buckaroo Book Award, 2004-2005; Nominee; Grades K-3; Wyoming
Colorado Children's Book Award, 2005; Nominee; Colorado
Flicker Tale Children's Book Award, 2004-2005; Nominee; Picture Books; North Dakota
Georgia Children's Book Award, 2006-2007; Nominee; Picture Storybook; Georgia
The Golden Archer Award, 2004-2005; Nominee; Primary; Wisconsin
Kentucky Bluegrass Award, 2005; Nominee; Grades K-2; Kentucky
Red Clover Children's Choice Picture Book Award, 2004-2005; Nominee; Grades K-4; Vermont
South Carolina Picture Book Award, 2005-2006; Nominee; South Carolina
Texas Reading Club, 2005; Texas
Going by Bus
Reading consultant: Susan Nations
This Weekly Reader produced series "Going Places" is a fine introduction to buses. Four short chapters cover school buses, city buses, long distance buses and special buses (sightseeing bus, shuttle bus, etc.). Each chapter provides detailed information on the uses of each type of bus, with a special emphasis on school bus safely. Photographs or illustrations related to the text appear on every page, enhancing the readability for young children. Also included are a table of contents, glossary, index and references for further print and web reading. A solid addition for all libraries. 2004, Weekly Reader, $19.33 and $5.95. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Sharon Oliver (Children's Literature).
Hello, School Bus!
Marjorie Blain Parker
Illustrated by Bob Kolar
With its humorous cartoon style illustrations, this "Scholastic Reader--Level 1" series book makes riding the school bus sound like fun: from the description of friends gathering to wait for the bus, the lights flashing, the friendly welcome by the bus driver, the hissing of the brakes, the noise of the riders, to the arrival at school. The brief text is comprised of words that beginning readers can sound out, as well as a few that will be a bit of a challenge. The accompanying illustrations add interest as well as describe the action of the text. The bus itself has quite a personality, and the animal characters are a wide range of species and all very cheerful. This is a simple, upbeat presentation on a topic familiar to the majority of school children. 2004, Cartwheel Books/Scholastic, $3.99. Ages 5 to 7. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo (Children's Literature).
My School Bus: a Book About School Bus Safety
A young African-American girl recounts her bus ride to school and demonstrates the safe way to wait for, board, ride and leave the bus. The pictures are engaging and the text is very simple. Kids will become familiar with the basic components of a book--table of contents, bibliography (no publication dates are given for the cited books), web sites, and index. There is a picture glossary but no definitions. Part of the "My World" series. 2000, Rosen, $18.75. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature).
Safety on the School Bus
Consultant: Karen E. Finkel
In this very basic primer children learn how they should conduct themselves safely when using the school bus. Most of the suggestions are what one would expect: wait for the bus with others, cross the street in front of the bus not behind it, hold onto the handrail when getting on and off the bus, etc. It tells children not to disturb the driver with loud noises but to stay quietly in their seats and keep their heads and arms inside the bus. For low-key entertainment, it describes how to play an Alphabet Game. One fact that parents and teachers might not consider is that clothing and book bags with long strings are a safety hazard as they can become caught in the door when a child enters or exits the bus. There are photos of children and school buses to illustrate the individual safety points, as well as to reassure kids who may be intimidated by the whole idea of riding the bus. At the back of the book, there is a short list of books and Internet sites for anyone who wants to pursue the topic further, plus a short index. Part of the "Safety First!" series. 1999, Bridgestone Books/Capstone Press, $14.00. Ages 5 to 9. Reviewer: Carol Raker Collins, Ph.D. (Children's Literature).
The School Bus is both a toy and a book. It has plastic wheels and a latch that opens. The bunnies invite kids to hop aboard. While on the ride there are lessons to be learned. First it is counting from 1 to 10, then it is a bit of math. The next lesson explains what the red, green and yellow lights on a traffic signal means, next it is shapes, followed by the alphabet and then arrival at school. These bus riders have already packed in some real learning before they even enter the front door of the school. It is a mixed bag, some of which is appropriate for preschoolers and some that is beyond. The book is sturdy and will hold up for many rides. 2001, Workman, $9.95. Ages 3 to 5. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot (Children's Literature).
School Bus Drivers
Photographs by Jim Baron
A short and simple book about school bus drivers and their work. School bus drivers give almost ten billion rides to kids every year. But how do school bus drivers learn to drive a bus? Do they have to go to school? What happens if there is a problem? How do they get help? And who keeps the bus clean and shiny? Say hello to the school bus driver! Every page of this book has one color photograph and a line or two of text. At the end of the book, readers will find pages with facts about school bus drivers, information on school bus drivers through history, suggestions for finding out more, a brief glossary and an index. A good choice for preschool and kindergarten classes whose curriculum includes a unit on community workers. 2005, Lerner Publications, $22.60. Ages 3 to 5. Reviewer: Anita Barnes Lowen (Children's Literature).
The Seals on the Bus
Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
This nonsensical take-off on the old songs about the wheels on the bus has animal after animal board, to the consternation of the other passengers, a human family on the way to a party. Seals, a tiger, geese ("honk, honk, honk") rabbits, monkeys, sheep, vipers are bad enough, but the skunks are the limit--the people must go "help, help, help!" Such madcap nonsense deserves an equally zany set of visuals. Karas uses a hectic combination of media, including cut paper, to show what the words barely hint at. Starting on the title page, with its ball-balancing seal at the bus stop, the action gradually picks up when the song's words appear. The people are like clothespin dolls with round head, while the animals are also presented in a basic but recognizable set of shapes, all in good visual fun. 2000, Henry Holt, $15.95. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature).
Adventuring with Books: A Booklist for Pre-K-Grade 6 13th Edition, 2002; National Council of Teachers of English; United States
The Best Children's Books of the Year, 2001; Bank Street College of Education; United States
Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, 2001; H.W. Wilson; United States
The Children's Literature Choice List, 2001; Children's Literature; United States
School Library Journal Book Review Stars, May 2000; Cahners; United States
School Library Journal: Best Books, 2000; Cahners; United States
State and Provincial Reading Lists:
Building Block Picture Book Award, 2001-2002; Nominee; Missouri
Kentucky Bluegrass Award, 2003; Nominee; Kentucky
We Need School Bus Drivers
This practical early reader measures 6 by 7 inches. It is the perfect size and length for young hands and minds. Inside the purple cover are three short chapters--in a large san serif typeface--that describe the important role of the school bus driver. There is a strong emphasis on safety with a reassuring message that the drivers will deliver their riders to school and return them home. Ample white space offsets the bright full-page photographs, and children with diverse backgrounds and abilities will see themselves in the pages of this book. The text concludes with a glossary and an index of vocabulary words. There is also a list of resources for students who want to learn more about the topic. One of many titles in the "Helpers in Our Community" series, it supports school curriculum for national social studies standards and is a helpful introduction to riding the bus alone. 2005, Pebble/Capstone Press, $15.93. Ages 5 to 7. Reviewer: Tina Dybvik (Children's Literature).
The Wheels on the Bus: Go Round and Round
Illustrated by Annie Kubler
Teachers often bemoan the loss of interest in nursery rhymes because they have traditionally been one of the earliest listening and learning experiences for children. They prepare youngsters for the notions of pattern and rhyme. They are often repetitive, which is both comforting and instructive. They are usually silly, adding an element of humor that makes reading fun. Now some of the favorite nursery rhymes and songs have become small board books with holes, each with a different illustrator. In this case, the holes are one of the wheels on the bus, but the hole becomes smaller and smaller on each page. There are also holes revealing miscellaneous other details and in one case, a window pops out like a puzzle piece. Soon, however, the piece will have disappeared and the window will be a hole like all the others. The bus is filled with a multicultural cast of children and grown-ups. On each page, the bus is being chased by a crazy character--a magician whose rabbits and birds are flying all over in the rain, a clown, a skater with ribbons and butterflies flowing around her. On the next page, the crazy character can be found hiding behind the children in one window of the bus. It's a new take on a favorite song. The illustrations are lively and colorful and full of searchable details. Part of the "Board Books with Holes" series. 2001, Child's Play, $5.99. Ages 3 mo. to 3. Reviewer: Karen Leggett (Children's Literature).
The Wheels on the School Bus
This is a delightful take on the classic children's song "The Wheels on the Bus." In Mary-Alice Moore's version the bus is a big yellow school bus populated by teachers who lead the festivities. "The coach on the bus says, 'Catch, catch, catch! Throw, throw, throw, throw!' The coach on the bus says, 'Throw, throw, throw!' All the way to school." The teacher's antics are hilariously illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith, illustrator of the favorite Aunt Lucy Went to Buy a Hat. Readers are invited to join in the fun (as if they could resist) with a page of sheet music at the end which collects Moore's frolicking new lyrics all on one page. This is definitely a fun way to kick off the school year. 2006, HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 3 to 7, $15.99. Reviewer: Ilene S. Goldman.
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