Off to Market

illus. by Erika Pal. 28p. Frances Lincoln. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781847803382.
PreS-K—Joe, the bus driver, picks up children, mothers, and more, taking everyone to market in Uganda. Young Keb helps everyone climb onboard as the bus fills with goats, chickens, children, rugs, and geese. The weight is too much for Joe's old vehicle, and it stalls going up a hill. Again, Keb volunteers to assist, though no one expects much from the small boy. But he saves the day, and the book ends with much cheering, joy, and an unexpected thank you gift for Keb. Bright watercolor and ink illustrations pull readers into the sun-drenched landscape. The characters are dressed in contemporary Ugandan clothes, with a few tourists absorbed in the action. Rhyming text with rich vocabulary creates a jaunty feel: "And everyone else says they're laden down, too./Joe scratches his head, what is he to do?/And then, from the back, there comes a faint shout,/'I'll get off,' cries Keb, 'if you all let me out!'" Bus stories are endlessly popular with young children, and this one delivers in spades, with livestock on the bus, giraffes and zebras watching from the road, and the colorful backdrop of Uganda. Children will enjoy searching the packed bus for Keb and all the items onboard.—Suzanne Myers Harold, formerly at Multnomah County Library System, Portland, OR

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