Jay-Jay is on the scrapheap; a sad bus he waits in hope of being on the road once more. One day he is purchased and taken away to be fixed and painted ready to start a new adventure.
Title: Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus
Series: Jay-Jay the Supersonic Bus (Book 1)
Author: Sue Wickstead
ISBN: 9780993073700 Language: English
Themes: repurposing, 70s, play
What’s it about?
Jay-Jay is a discarded bus that has been left to rust in a scrapyard. One day his life changes when he is purchased and taken away. Repaired and repainted, Jay-Jay begins his new life as a playbus – visiting children and bringing joy to their lives.
A well formatted book with a mixture of text and spot illustrations throughout. The story itself has a balance of dialogue and description that keeps the story moving at a steady pace.
Okay so technically I wouldn’t call this a picture book but it’s not a chapter book either – it sort of caters for that inbetween phase to connect the two. Strangely, this reading age isn’t that well catered for so it was pleasantly surprising to find Jay-Jay.
Firstly, I really like the spot illustrations. They complement without taking over and provide enough of a quick snap shot of the page to work perfectly. These illustrations are important in my opinion to engage children who may not be that keen on reading and yes, I’m specifically thinking of boys of this age.
The story is well written without unnecessary buffing. I liked the voice of Jay-Jay who comes across as very approachable – I think children would really connect well with the character. Speaking of the character this is a great story that could be used for personification activities in the classroom. I would also be looking at using it to make Text-to-World connections – particularly from a history perspective (this is perhaps more relevant for my UK readers where these playbuses seemed very popular in the 70s!).
Another aspect of the story I really liked is the fact that this is about repurposing something. In a time where we are focusing on the “reduce, reuse, and recycle” to help the planet this book shows that we actually were doing this years ago too! To go with this I can also see STEAM related activities being completed – such as designing their own Jay-Jay.
Overall, a really enjoyable story for a difficult to find books for age and ability level. My kids liked reading about Jay-Jay and are looking forward to the next book in the series. A must for the junior primary (grades kindy-3) classroom.
Special thanks to author, Sue Wickstead, for providing me with a free copy of the book.