As part of our 100 books to 100 classes project we have spent the last week exploring all the wonderful Bob Graham picture books in our collection. The week began with his newest title A bus called Heaven and ended with one of his first books Pete and Roland.
The celebration of community is an important theme in many Bob Graham picture books. It is little Stella who sees the real potential of an old bus which has been abandoned outside her house. Everyone comes together from the streets nearby to clean up the old bus, move it into Stella’s driveway and create a communal space inside for games, friendship and fun. Even the graffiti boys rise to the occasion by painting the bus with a glorious design after their night of tagging is discovered by Stella’s mum. As with any great story, however, there needs to be a moment of crisis. The local council are not happy to have the old bus partially over the footpath and so a tow truck arrives to take the now restored bus to the wreckers. Stella is a quiet, shy little girl but she bravely steps out to meet this challenge head on.
Stella reminded me of other wonderful young, yet strong, girl characters in Bob Graham’s books like Rose Summers in Rose meets Mr Wintergarten , Dimity in Dimity Dumpty and Kate in Let’s get a pup and The Trouble with dogs. In a way all of these characters are like Max – a small hero doing quiet deeds – the world needs more of those.
We read all of those Bob Graham titles this week along with Oscar’s half birthday, Crusher is coming, Buffy and Greetings from Sandy Beach. Given more time we should also have looked at The Wild, Pearl's place, First there was Frances and Queenie the Bantam.
If you have not explored the wonderful books of Bob Graham take a look in your library soon. These are books that can be read over and over again and they are books that are best shared sitting side by side with a friend or an adult as together you explore all the tiny little details Bob Graham lovingly includes in each illustration.
Teaching notes for A bus called Heaven and for Max.