From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2—This charming picture book celebrates a child's enthusiasm for her world. From the moment she arrives in class, through the bus ride and tour of the museum, Bella's lively interest in everyone and everything she encounters earn her reprimands from the adults and the cold shoulder from her peers. Bella's excitement is finally cowed by the guide, who scolds her, and a classmate who tells her she is "ruining everything." Bella flees the museum in despair, planning to take refuge on her bus, but she accidentally boards the wrong one. Upon realizing her error, she bellows, "Stop the bus! I'm on the wrong bus!" Bella's self-esteem is restored when the chaperone on that vehicle comments, "Good thing she has a loud voice." Bella's teacher agrees, which helps restore the child's happy mood. Mai-Wyss's colorful watercolor cartoons are a nice match for the text. Bella's irrepressible personality shines through in the active cartoon illustrations. The scenes in the museum are particularly pleasing as the child admires framed works of art done in traditional styles. The book's design adds to the story's appeal; Bella's speech appears in large and various colored fonts. An enjoyable read-aloud choice.—Maura Bresnahan, High Plain Elementary School, Andover, MA
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When her class goes on a field trip to the art museum, Bella cannot contain her enthusiasm. Much to the chagrin of everyone around her, she comments loudly as the bus passes familiar sights and also on each painting, the bold, capitalized text font reflecting her obnoxious tone. To everyone’s relief, the exasperated museum guide finally shuts noisy Bella down with a stern warning. However, it’s Bella’s voice that saves her when she boards the wrong bus and announces her mistake at top volume. Despite having been admonished, Bella bounces back when reunited with her class, clearly showing the emotional roller coaster of a child’s world. Bright, breezy, expressive, cartoon-style watercolors capture Bella’s exuberance and depict a diversity of students, including one child in a wheelchair. Although not quite as successful as Niki Daly’s Ruby Sings the Blues (2005), this cautionary tale will still resonate with children as well as their teachers. Grades K-3. --Patricia Austin