One girl goes on a very unique trip to Grandma’s house in The Bus Ride by Marianne Dubac (Kids Can Press, 2015). At first, as she boards a bus with her mother’s watchful eye, the reader may believe she is just any kid traveling to Grandmother’s house. To the reader’s surprise, this girl enters a fantasy world where animals join her on the bus.
The details in the pencil illustrations are what truly teach this story. The author-illustrator shows all the animals with realistic details, and yet they are truly anthropomorphic, with clothing, items to hold, and personalities. The girl interacts and befriends the animals, and each animal has a distinct detail that makes this book fun to revisit time and again. For example, the newspaper, which gets passed from passenger to passenger, features headlines of things that have just happened on the bus (the pick-pocket fox has been caught, for example). As I flipped back through the pages after reading, I found that there were many such details that were missed on my first read through.
The author chose to use very little text on each page, just a line on the bottom with the girl’s thoughts. In some respects, the text was not necessary at all, since the illustrations told such a fun story. Children who love finding details, and who love animals, will enjoy this book, even without needing to read the narration on the bottom of the pages.