A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Stella lives in the city. When an abandoned bus with a sign taped to it reading “Heaven” appears one morning in front of Stella’s house, people in the neighborhood seem to change. For once, they stop and talk to one another. Stella, who usually has her thumb in her mouth, changes as well. She sees potential in the old bus and before you know it, she has inspired her community to clean it up and turn it into a neighborhood club house where all are welcome. Everyone brings something to donate to their new community center - one little girl brings her goldfish, a little boy donates his comic books, Stella contributes her table soccer game, other people bring chairs, rugs and baked goods. One little girl loans her dog for people who just need to sit and pat something. This is a really sweet and delightful story of how a diverse neighborhood of people are able to work together for the betterment of their community. Author/Illustrator Bob Graham shows people of all ages, colors and creeds uniting to create a shared space where children can play (and fight), babies can crawl, people can laugh, granddads can scratch dogs, couples can meet, and families can show their vacation pictures. But this bit of heaven does face a crisis. When a junkyard man shows up with an order to remove the illegal vehicle, the community must figure out how to save it. I don't think it's a spoiler to say that Stella saves the day (and the bus!). The illustrations in this book are delightful - double paged spreads and pages with multiple illustrations are crammed with details. Cars and trucks, people of all shapes and sizes, dogs, birds, cityscapes, ships, and factories, houses and junkyards fill the pages and demand repeated viewings. A wonderful book about inclusion and working together to create a community.
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