CBR16SweetChallenge #Binge (Because if I hadn’t been at work I would have had a binge cry fest! Then read it a couple more times, cried again…. which I will be reading this a lot…. so reading binge later)
There are several things that I can dislike about books. I do not like a “preachy” story, nor do I like one too long or too short. I am not a fan of poor writing or poor editing. And I really do not like it when a book makes me cry. Now unlike the other things, I can still like the book if this happens, because crying can mean it is well done or I got invested in the characters and I hate seeing anything bad happen to them. But it can be a good cry, too (the kid finds a family, the cat lives, the tortoise wins the race, the line is so funny I fall off my chair laughing as tears stream down my face). Unfortunately, The Yellow Bus was a bad cry. Because (spoiler) I can only liken the ending to the Bus passing away.
Loren Long, you are a bad person! And one amazing writer, not to mention one amazing illustrator. And by the way, thanks for this emotional ride. I never thought I would become invested in the life of a bus as much as I did because of this book. Now, most people are probably asking how can a story about a school bus be emotional? The kids get on it, they get off it. The wheels of the bus go round and round, the horn beeps, the seats go up and down. But it was a tear-your-heart-out emotional, bumpy, crazy, amazing, wow! ride.
I will start with that it might be a lot for the sensitive reader, or the usual picture book reader, but it is an important story. Long captures the theme of time perfectly. The ending is bittersweet. The illustrations and the use of color are both the best and worst part of things as they tug on your heart strings and even happy moments bring tears to your eyes. The author put you on a roller coaster of feelings and you thank them for it! The color is amazing and the details are perfect. They range from busy, filling the pages to the very edge and yet, focused. The idea is we follow the bus as it takes the kids from one important place to another. Later we see adults being taken from one important place to another. Then it is left in the city after it can no longer be used. But it is still useful in so many special, and terribly important, ways.And each time there is a new chapter in the life of the bus, it is happy after it has found a new purpose, and is being helpful. As these things are happening we hear sounds, see things, and learn that around the bus time is changing, we see growth, expansion and even destruction (there is a goat farm that is turned into something else). The passing of time finally ends with the valley the bus has found itself in being formatted into something that means the bus has found its last chapter.
The use of yellow in the book is important as it shows the bus, and this last part of the book is when I figure the bus dies. Even though there is still this last chapter. Of course, the rainbow of colors are used. This is mostly when the author needs you to focus on a part of the story, or to make a part leap off the page. However, they do this with the black and white (or more actually gray) image, too. Basically the colors are the characters that support the character of the bus. You must read the illustrations as they are giving you the story as well. The parts in the city do not tell you who the bus has as new passengers, but the artwork does. And these images are bitter sweet. Even if there is light, warmth, and hope, things are soft and quiet. Yet, things are loud. There are no whispers! This is as much an art book as it is a story picture book.
Read via an online reader copy, this book due in June 2024, I would more quickly give this to an adult than a child due to the sophistication of things.