Carmine's Reviews > The Wheels on the Bus

The Wheels on the Bus by Paul O. Zelinsky
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Dec 17, 09

bookshelves: picture-books, read-with-ozma
Recommended for: kids and parents everywhere
Read in December, 2009, read count: countless

I first read this in the 1990s when it came out, but appreciate it on a whole new level now.

We were given this pop-up book as a gift and in the last week it has become my 17 month old daughters OBSESSION. I read Wheels on the bus at least 30 times this weekend. We keep it up on a high shelf because it is a more delicate book and she will stand in front of the shelf and yell, "Bus! Bus! Bus!"

While I may be tiring of singing the song, I still love Zelinsky's illustrations. This maybe my favorite pop up book of all time because he doesn't try to wow you with any amazing pop-out paper architecture, the moving parts work in harmony with and compliment the illustrations. For example, the page where the babies on the bus cry 'wah! wah! wah!' there are only a few eye and mouth movements, but it creates the illusion of an animated panorama of wailing babies and distressed mothers in only a couple slight movements.

Also, even the pull tabs for the moving parts are integrated in to the illustrations- one is a food, or when pulled it reveals additional text.

The testament to the true strength of the illustrations is that the book stands up to marathon rereadings- 10 times, 20 times in a row and there is still something new to notice in the illustrations. endless subplots playing out only through the illustrations...the boy with the box of kittens, the musician with the guitar whose end destination is the city library, the orange scooter that tails the bus a while. Then the last page is a montage of smaller pop up scenes of the bus in the context of a map of the town we have just traveled through.

Paul Zelinsky, you are a genius and deserve your Caldecott.
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