Elem. – One Boy Watching

Snider, Grant. One Boy Watching. Chronicle Books, 2022. 978-1-797-21088-9. Unpaged. $17.99. Grades K-2.

The simple, familiar experience of a school bus ride is turned into an excursion of discovery in Grant Snider’s picture book. Gorgeously enhanced with his own  illustrations, the story follows one boy, one day, one ride to school. While the text is sparse, the words capture the small delights the boy observes on his long ride from his rural home to his school in town. Each page incorporates a counting theme, with concepts both simple (three pecking chickens) and more abstruse (no trains, infinite sky, countless flowers), sure to attract the attention of the keen listener or reader. Sinder’s color pencil and marker illustrations are lush and eye-catching, tying in to the school theme of the story. Bus riders are compared to crayons in a box, which echoes the feel of the artwork. As the long school day draws to a close, the boy begins to wonder what he may spy on the ride home. The story is a visual and thematic delight. Besides being fun to read, youngsters will enjoy counting, pondering the boy’s lengthy ride to school and long school day. How do they compare to their own school experience? The main character is white, while a variety of ethnicities are represented among the children on the bus. 

THOUGHTS: This book would make a wonderful read aloud early in the school year, and will inspire many rereads. A worthy addition to libraries serving young patrons, especially school libraries. 

Picture Book          Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor SD

Elem. – Time for School, Little Blue Truck

Schertle, Alice. Time for School, Little Blue Truck. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021. 978-0-358-41224-3. Unpaged. $16.91. Grades PreK-2. 

Little Blue Truck envies the big yellow school bus when he sees it carry his friends to school. The school bus kindly reminds Little Blue Truck that he’s not big enough for the job, but Little Blue Truck decides to prove the school bus wrong when he sees Piggy distraught on the side of the road. Little Blue offers to help since Piggy overslept, and they take a bumpy shortcut that ends up beating the school bus. Good job, Little Blue! Another fun tale about Little Blue Truck whose adventures never take him too far from home but prove that he’s always there for a friend. A great back-to-school story!

THOUGHTS: A fun rhyming read aloud at back to school time.

Picture Book          Lindsey Long, Lower Dauphin SD