All Aboard the London Bus

illus. by Sam Usher. 40p. Frances Lincoln. May 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781847808578.
K-Gr 3—As a family of four spend the day sightseeing in London, each stop of the double-decker bus introduces readers to a new sight, as well as those London absolutes such as rain and a midday pause for tea. Each bus stop is given two pages, and landmarks are indicated with labels reminiscent of street signs, which are painted at the top of the left-hand page. One or more poems highlight each stop, and a variety of poetic forms, including rhyming couplets, limericks, and haiku, as well as changes in poem placement, keep the text fresh. Striking watercolor illustrations in a mix of full-bleed images, vignettes, and spreads complement the poetry, expanding upon the text and creating flow and rhythm. Every few pages, the two work together to produce a particularly playful pairing, such as a shape poem, whose words create the Thames, and a seek-and-find rhyme at Trafalgar Square. Although some of the words may be challenging for newly independent readers, this is a story best shared with an adult. Further facts about each stop of the bus—including a paragraph on the ravens at the Tower of London, which will encourage readers to go back and explore the details of each illustration—are appended.
VERDICT A fun family read for future tourists and armchair travelers.

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