From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—This offering takes readers back to the ethnically diverse, cooperative, child-led classroom depicted in Dragon Dancing
(Viking, 2007). On a "gray drizzle day," indoor doings depend on the power of imagination. With themes for free play suggested by the real-life action outside the classroom's plate glass window, simple playthings—blocks, toys, dress-up bits—offer plenty of inspiration for open-ended activities, enhancing games the children make up themselves and encouraging invention and exploratory thinking. Chairs become seats on the yellow school bus, and kids become firefighters, clowns, dinosaurs, showmen, royalty, and even a family of bears. Schaefer's text offers invitations for readers/listeners to interact by supplying sound effects, identifying words for colors printed in appropriate hues, and guessing the roles kids will play when the page turns ("Riders….Firefighters….Dinos like us!"), while Morgan employs a calligrapher's touch to superimpose colorful fantasy-play figments of the kids' imaginations on their more commonplace classroom components. Who should buy this book? Teachers and librarians like us!—Kathy Krasniewicz, Perrot Library, Old Greenwich, CT
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Once again Schaefer and Morgan offer a jubilant picture book that shows the overlap between children’s fantasy worlds and everyday activities. For those who know the team’s previous collaborations, such as The Squiggle (1996), much will seem familiar here, from the happily humming classroom of multihued students to the story’s structure, which alternates between real-world and imaginary scenes. The creators encourage interactive read-alouds by focusing on different colors in each spread. “As the yellow bus pulls away, on a gray drizzle day, who takes off in it?” reads the text, which highlights the colors in their corresponding shades. The following page brings the answer: “Riders like us,” accompanied by an illustration showing the students seated on classroom chairs, surrounded by a yellow outline of the school bus they imagined. Later spreads bring more colors and roles to play, from firefighters to a multicultural crowd of royalty. This doesn’t break new ground, but preschoolers will delight in the noisy, rhythmic text and feel transported to the students’ joyfully imagined worlds. Preschool. --Gillian Engberg