CM Archive
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Susan Reid
Illustrated by C.L.A. Mackenzie
Victoria, Orca Book Publishers, 1993. 32pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 0-920501-88-5. CIP

Grades 1 to 3/Ages 6 to 8

Reviewed by Catherine McInerney.

Volume 21 Number 4
1993 September

In this zany book about a class trip, nothing goes as planned. While trying to round up one missing student, teacher Mrs. Tardy accidentally gets left behind. Since she knows the destination of the bus, she presumes that it will be easy to catch up with her class. However, her unusual choice of transportation makes it unlikely that she will get there in time.

The book begins with interesting endpapers of an endless series of teachers chasing school buses. This intrigued the students to whom I read this book.

The book has unusual visual perspectives, bright colours and an abundance of detail. For example, place names (such as The Runcible Spoon restaurant) demand further explanation on second reading.

The pictures have a knack of making the trip feel realistically hectic. The speed of the bus is shown by the way that the road winds in and out and occasionally disappears in the illustrations. This same visual device (winding pathways and roadways) also serves to slow down the plot action, as the teacher cannot go directly to her destination by a straight route.

The book's layout (two-page spreads with half of the right-hand page for the text) allows the large picture spread to draw readers into the action.

The text is rather long, and could have been made more memorably rhythmic by a bit more editing. Also, the idea that a school bus could leave without a teacher and actually do a school trip is a bit unbelievable, given most school boards' strict regulations regarding school trips.

An enjoyable read.

Catherine McInerney is a children's librarian with St. Catharines Public Library in St. Catharines, Ontario.
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