We've acquired several Karen Katz books over the past year, with their trademark multicultural round-headed babies. Baby Bookworm is particularly fond of Princess Baby on the Go, a lift-the-flap book (or should I call it a rip-the-flap book?) much loved = much taped.I actually reviewed the original Princess Baby picture back in 2008 (and really wish I had had the forethought to keep the book and especially the wand that came with it). Anyway, I like Katz's work. And I think that The Babies on the Bus is perfect toddler-friendly fare.
The Babies on the Bus features a handful of Katz's big-headed babies (including Princess Baby, wand in hand) on a school bus. The text is a minor variant of the well-known song "The Wheels on the Bus." In Katz's embodiment, along with the traditional wheels, doors, and wipers, etc., we have:
"The babies on the bus sing,
The babies on the bus sing,
all through the town.
"The babies on the bus fall
The babies on the bus fall
all through the town."
It's already a kid-friendly song, of course, and Katz hasn't changed it a whole lot. Just enough to make it more specific to a bus full of babies.
The text on the cover is subtly sparkly. All of the illustrations include dashed lines to indicate the direction of movement (doors opening and closing, etc.). Each page features bright colors and, in the children's clothing, lively patterns. The babies all close their eyes and wave their arms when they sing, and they bounce all over the place (harmlessly, of course) when the bus goes "bumpity bump." They are, except when sleeping, a vibrant and cheerful bunch. And although Katz's round-headed, tiny-featured babies aren't realistically drawn, there is realism in the way the kids react to things (pointing at the windshield wipers, and so on).
So what we have is a book featuring cute babies, including the well-known Princess Baby, that also features the fun song "The Wheels on the Bus". A book that you can't actually read. You have to sing it aloud. What more could any preschooler (or librarian looking for books for storytime) want? The Babies on the Bus isn't ground-breaking literature. But it is kid-friendly fun for preschoolers. Recommended for home and library use.
[And can I just add on a personal note: Baby Bookworm was thrilled to recognize a character, Princess Baby, who she already knew from another book. That gave me a warm feeling about this book.]
Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers (@MacKidsBooks)
Publication Date: July 19, 2011
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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