Ten Rules You Absolutely…

Book Reviews

Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus.
Grandits, John (author).  Illustrated by Michael Allen Austin.
July 2011. 32p. Clarion, hardcover, $16.99 (9780618788224). K-Grade 3.
REVIEW.  First published July, 2011 (Booklist).

The unfortunate among us recall the carnivalesque horrors of entering a school bus for the first time: the creaking bat-wing of the door, the towering driver, the jungle of bizarre and unfriendly faces. Grandits sums up the traumatic experience quite neatly in this surreal take on the reputation (and reality) of riding the bus. Kyle’s older brother, James, is the source of the frightening list of do-or-die rules. Never sit in the first row. Never sit in the back row. Never make eye contact. Never touch anyone’s stuff. Each threat receives a delirious acrylic illustration from Austin that turns everything—trees, chairs, people—into wild malformations that slouch as if constructed of Play-Doh. The surly big kid looks like a wolf, the bus itself has horns, and so on. Naturally, Kyle breaks all 10 rules in a single day, which leads him to concoct Rule 11: ignore your brother’s rules. With its decent amount of text, this skews slightly older, though its topic, of course, is perfect for anyone dealing with the Big Yellow Monster. — Daniel Kraus

Horn Book Guide:
Grandits, John Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break If You Want to Survive the School Bus
   32 pp. Clarion 2011. ISBN 978-0-618-78822-4
(4) K-3 Illustrated by Michael Allen Austin. Kyle is nervous about his first bus ride, but his older brother claims to know the secret rules for school bus survival. Maybe Kyle is braver than big brother thinks, and perhaps the bus isn’t quite so treacherous after all. Imaginative (and overly creepy) illustrations bring Kyle’s anxieties to life as he pictures the riders/creatures waiting to prey on him.

Reprinted from The Horn Book Magazine [or Guide, as applicable] by permission of The Horn Book, Inc., www.hbook.com

School Library Journal:
 GRANDITS, John. Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus. illus. by Michael Allen Austin. 32p. CIP. Clarion. July 2011. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-0-618-78822-4. LC number unavailable.

Gr 1-4–Nervous to ride the bus on the first day of school, Kyle is armed with his older brother’s survival rules: never sit in the first row or the last row, never make yourself stand out, never make eye contact, never touch anyone’s stuff, never talk to big kids or to girls, never mess with the bully or the bus driver, and never be the last one on the bus. Following his brother’s instructions is a lot harder than he thought and poor Kyle ends up breaking every rule. But, to his surprise he doesn’t get laughed at, yelled at, pushed around or pounded, and the big kids don’t steal his lunch, his money, or his football card collection. Instead, he makes a new friend, bonds with the bully, and convinces the driver to drop the kids off across the street away from the scary dog. The large, full-page acrylic illustrations constantly shift perspectives and points of view, adding energy, vivacity, and animation. Readers also gain insight into Kyle’s wild imagination as he pictures himself as a zebra at a lion party and envisions the big kids as grizzly bears, the girls as mean snakes, and the bus driver as a vulture. Seasoned bus riders, and anyone who has been misguided by an older sibling’s advice, will certainly enjoy this outrageously humorous, well-told story. However, youngsters nervous about riding the bus might want to wait until after they have overcome their fears to read it.–Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL


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