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A Bus Called Heaven

by Bob Graham

Published by U.S. edition: Candlewick Press, 2012
40 pages
ISBN: 978-0-7636-5893-9

Ages 3-7

A bus breaks down and is abandoned on Stella’s street. The bus’s destination sign says “Heaven,” although Stella, a pale, quiet girl, takes her thumb from her mouth and notes, “Mommy, that old bus is as sad as a whale on a beach.” Neighbors young and old push the bus off the street into Stella’s yard. Everyone pitches in to help clean it up. Teens who tag ”Street Ratz” across the side in the dark of night are invited to paint a mural on the bus by the light of day. It soon becomes a neighborhood gathering spot, sporting a portable soccer table, goldfish, comics. Snails leave silver trails as they crawl up the bus’s side. A pair of birds builds a nest in the engine. People gather to play games and share stories. And Stella? She plays table soccer. A lot. So on the day a tow truck arrives to haul the bus to the junkyard (the bus obstructs the sidewalk, and that is “against regulations”), she challenges the junkyard boss to a game: winner take all. Bob Graham’s idea of heaven is community in this unabashedly uplifting look at a multicultural, multi-generational neighborhood. Graham’s lyrical storytelling inhabits every word of the narrative and every line and brush stroke of the delightfully detailed illustrations. Heaven indeed. (MS) ©2012 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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