?This is the first time I'm taking the bus by myself. Mom packed me a snack --- and had me bring my sweater in case I get cold.? But Mom likely didn't imagine the adventure her little girl would have as she rides to her grandmother's house in this sweet picture book. While the bus is taking her down the streets, through a forest and into a pitch-black tunnel, the little girl encounters an assortment of animal characters who enliven her journey, including a goat who offers her a flower from a bouquet, a wolf child with whom she happily shares her cookies and a fox who attempts to pickpocket a beaver. Adding to the fun are lots of running visual gags, such as the changing headlines on the newspaper that hides one passenger's face, a sleeping sloth who mysteriously appears in different seats without ever having woken up and a nervous-looking turtle whose head and arms pop in and out of its shell.
The interior of the bus covers each two-page spread, and award-winning author-illustrator Marianne Dubuc uses subtle colors and tiny details to draw in youngsters to the activity happening there. This book offers a potentially multilayered classroom reading experience: there is the terrific main story of the girl's trip, but there are also any number of mini stories playing out at the same time with each of the other characters. It would work beautifully as a jumping-off point for children to do some imaginary storytelling of their own.