Gus, the Dinosaur Bus
Written by Julia Liu
Illustrated by Bei Lynn
This is the tale of Gus, a dinosaur school bus. Kids think he’s awesome. They never want to get sick or sleep in for fear of missing a ride. He picks them up right at their door, and even apartment dwellers can hop out their windows and slide down his neck. He makes a good umbrella when it rains, and he never has to stop for gas. Gus is a perfect bus. Isn’t he?
Not everyone thinks so. A supersaurus on the city streets has its challenges. Sometimes he gets tangled in the telephone lines, his tail has been known to hit a roof or two, and the city often has to fix his dino-sized potholes. Some people think Gus is causing more havoc than good. The school’s principal has no choice but to pull the dinosaur off the road. Banished to the school gym, Gus cries and cries. When the children come to visit him they find a literal swimming pool of tears. And in a classic case of turning lemons into lemonade, the children discover a new use for Gus: he’s the best dinosaur playground ever!
Lui’s cute story brings to mind Syd Hoff’s classic Danny and the Dinosaur. The concept will definitely stimulate the imagination of many dinosaur-loving first graders. They will also latch on to Lynn’s pencil and watercolor illustrations, which have a child-like feel complete with scribbles and stick figures. Vocabulary and sentence structure are appropriate for beginning readers. This is also a good choice for a teacher read-aloud and/or classroom library.