Review of the Week

Graham, Bob. A Bus Called Heaven. Bob Graham, Illus.  Pic. Bk. Candlewick, 2012. 40p. $16.99. 978-0-7636-5893-9.     HIGH ADDITIONAL.    GRADES K-2.

Bob Graham creates a heartfelt story about a neighborhood united over transforming an abandoned bus into a lively community center. The title refers to a sign reading “heaven” taped to the front of the ramshakle bus. Young Stella, “the color of moonlight,” finds the bus outside her house one day and is determined to save it. Everyone contributes something, from helping to clean and paint it to bringing furniture, comics, cake, and a goldfish tank. Graham’s ink and watercolor illustrations feature multicultural, multi-generational characters in an inner-city environment where row houses are dwarfed by industrial buildings. Using a mix of panel and quirky spot illustrations, Graham captures the personalities and varied interactions between characters. Full-page spreads artfully convey the more dramatic elements of the story. This is a gentle, hopeful story about a community joining together.

Sarah Hodgson, Oakland Public Library

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