The first time that I ever rode a school bus to go anywhere other than the occasional field trip, was in ninth grade. You see, I was fortunate enough to live on a street that had an elementary school at one end (five houses away) and a middle school at the other end (about a half-mile away). So I was always a ‘walker’. By high school, I had no choice except to ride the bus – and soon learned to appreciate the wind-down time that the ride gave me before arriving home and having to get busy with homework and such.
As a parent now, I am so very grateful for the bus system provided by our local school district. The buses are always on time, the stops are conveniently located near or at our house, and the drivers are professional, friendly and seem to truly care about the kids they drive to and from school every day. My older daughters ride the bus to and from school – and have since my oldest started kindergarten. Having had to transport her (and then her sister) to and from preschool, it’s been a huge relief to not have to coordinate drop-offs and pick-ups – especially while I worked full-time outside the home. The girls are bus pros now, and even handle the transfer point easily every single day.
Riding the bus can be a scary prospect for little kids however – and I know that my own had moments of nervousness when mine first began riding it. That’s why I’m thrilled to have the chance to share about a new book called I’m Your Bus, by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Evan Polenghi.
What it is:
Inside the pages of I’m Your Bus, kids are treated to a day in the life of a school bus. Each page contains rhyming text and color illustrations that give kids an inside view of what a school bus might think and feel. Here’s a synopsis:
Get ready for a rip-roaring, rhyming ride that celebrates all things drivin’ with a special spotlight on a kid’s four-wheeled best buddy–his school bus! When you’re a kid, your school bus can be your very best friend. Morning, noon, and nighttime, too, that golden buddy is at your service. Ready to drive you and your friends to and from school!
The book was published in June of 2009 by Scholastic Press and is aimed at kids from 4-8 years old. The hardcover edition is 32 pages long.
Here’s my our take on it:
The thing that I noticed right away when we looked at this book for the first time was how humanized the cartoon-style drawings of the main school bus character are. The bus really does look like a ‘friend’, with it’s toothy grin and friendly messages on the sign above the windshield. I think any kid will recognize the typical look of a yellow school bus, and this book could really help ease their anxiety and fear about embarking on their first bus rides to and from school.
My older girls are used to riding the bus – and even my youngest is familiar with seeing the yellow bus driving through the neighborhood. During the school year, she would often watch for the bus when her sister was due to arrive home from morning kindergarten and would let me know as soon as she saw it heading down the street. Climbing on the bus herself in a few years may be a different story altogether though, so I’m very glad that we’ll have this book to get her used to the idea beforehand.
Now no book can completely give kids the whole experience of riding the bus, and some kids may be more anxious than others about it. What I like about this book is that it does a good job, I think, of showing kids what it’s like, from the perspective of the bus itself – like the bus is an old friend, or someone they can relate to. And the easy sing-song style of the text isn’t overwhelming for kids, allowing them to focus as much on the pictures as the words. I also am always thrilled to find books that don’t overwhelm you with how much text is on each page – many kids (including my own) don’t always like to stay on one page for very long, so this one is a good, easy read. If I’m annoyed by the experience of reading a book, I’m less likely to keep it at the top of the book pile – but this is one book that I enjoy just as much as the kids do. Plus – my two older girls are able to read the book by themselves, which is a huge help too. 🙂
My only critique isn’t of the book itself really, but I think the ages listed might be off a bit. I can see toddlers and preschoolers being very entertained by this book, even though they’re too young to ride a bus themselves necessarily. And, mine notwithstanding, most kids by 2nd or 3rd grade are generally past the ‘picture book’ stage – especially ones that rhyme.
The bottom line:
Whether or not kids will be riding the school bus themselves, I’m Your Bus is a cute story, especially for kids who love books about vehicles of any sort. And if you are looking for a way to help your child adjust to the idea of riding the bus for the first time, this book can be a huge help with that – you can even use it as a starting point to begin discussions about what his/her own experience of bus riding will be like.
Where can you find it?:
Would you like to read it?:
- One (1) Lunchbox for a little girl
- One (1) Lunchbox for a little boy
- Copy of I’m Your Bus Picture Book
Three runner-up winners will receive:
- Copy of I’m Your Bus Picture Book
If you would like to share this cute book with a child in your life, here are the rules:
- Enter by leaving a comment here to let me know if you ever rode a school bus as a kid (and include your best bus riding story if you have one!). Please don’t just say ‘choose me’, or your entry will be discarded.
- The contest will run until Wednesday, August 19th at 11:59 pm EST. The winner will be selected through random drawing, contacted by e-mail, listed on this post and also submitted to PRIZEY. US entries only, please.
- Please leave a valid e-mail address or other way to contact you! If you don’t wish to leave your e-mail address, please make sure that you leave a unique name and check back with PRIZEY to see if you won. If the winner hasn’t responded within 3 days, an alternate winner will be chosen by random drawing.
- If you’d like extra entries, you can:
- Subscribe to my RSS feed (click on the orange icon in the upper right sidebar) or subscribe via e-mail – leave me a separate comment to let me know.
- Mention this contest on your blog with a link back to this post, and leave a separate comment with the link to your post so I can find it.
- Either Twitter about, ‘Digg’ or ‘Kirtsy’ this post – leave me a separate comment with your username at whichever site(s) you chose (one extra entry per method).
So that’s a total of 6 comments/entries if you do all of the extra entry options.
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED – the random number generator has chosen comment #68 as the grand prize winner and comments #32, #3, and #73 as the runners-up:
- Danetta, whose extra entry from blogging the giveaway has won for her.
- judy brittle (no blog), whose extra entry from tweeting the giveaway has won for her.
- Stephanie (no blog), whose extra entry from tweeting the giveaway has won for her.
- lace who said, “I only rode the bus for a short amount of time. I hated it. The bus drove right past my house everyday and would not stop. The only stop they’d let me off of was about 6 blocks down a very busy road from my house. It was very frustrating.”
I will be e-mailing each of you shortly to work out the details!