Bob Graham has written and illustrated many acclaimed children's picture books, including How to Heal a Broken Wing; Max, which won the 2000 Smarties Gold Medal, and his most recent picture book, April Underhill, Tooth Fairy which was shortlisted for the 2011 Kate Greenaway Medal. He has won the Australian Children's Book of the Year Award an unprecedented three times. He lives in Victoria, Australia.
"Graham's books bubble with good humour and the knowledge that there are many ways of looking at the world provided you keep an open mind." (The Guardian)"
An abandoned, broken-down bus-destination "Heaven"-unites a community and inspires Stella, the heroine of Graham's (April and Esme: Tooth Fairies) uplifting story. "It could be... ours," whispers Stella, a quiet girl "the color of moonlight" who sees only potential for the battered vehicle. Stella's visionary attitude is contagious, and soon all the neighbors are helping clean and decorate the bus, making it into a lovely community hub, complete with table soccer, a fishbowl, and a library of books for everyone to enjoy. Even when city regulations threaten the bus, Stella finds a truly original way to save the day. Graham's ink-and-watercolor scenes capture the small details (overgrown yards, vacant lots, old tires, and refrigerators) of a struggling urban neighborhood eager for a sign of hope. And he effortlessly depicts a slice of city life, in which people of various religions, races, ages, and occupations pull together as one. As Stella shifts from meek to bold, and the bus transforms into a rainbow of color and activity, Graham's artwork grows brighter, too, highlighting the story's transformative message. Ages 3-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Gr 1-3-Young Stella lives in a city neighborhood that undergoes a miraculous change when a run-down bus mysteriously appears in front of her house. A sign taped to the bus reads, "Heaven." Intrigued, the pale girl, "the color of moonlight," urges her neighbors to help her push the abandoned vehicle into her yard, leaving only the front wheels on the sidewalk. Coming together, the grown-ups clean the inside of it while some teens paint a cheerful mural, designed by Stella, on the outside. People carry in donations like furniture, toys, and even a table soccer game. With sparrows nesting in the engine, Heaven serves as a center of activity for the community until one Saturday morning, a tow truck arrives. The driver does not listen to protests and insists, "This bus is causing an obstruction." The crowd follows as he tows it to the junkyard. To win back the bus, Stella challenges the junkyard boss to a game of table soccer. After her victory, a cheer goes up and everyone helps move the bus to a vacant lot behind Stella's house. Ink and watercolor cartoon illustrations reinforce the earnest story's message of unity and hope, capturing the welcoming heart and spirit of Stella's urban neighborhood.-Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.