over the holidays i finished reading “miss honey’s school bus” by richard scarry. this was a book i’d been meaning to read but hadn’t had the time to sit down and tackle it. it is one of mr. scarry’s newer puzzle/book combos for youngsters. i had delved into his other works such as
“cars and trucks and things that go,” “richard scarry’s best story book ever,” “a day at the airport,” “richard scarry’s best word book ever/el mejor libro de palapras de richard scarry ” and several others. i have never been disappointed with a scarry novel.
barnesandnoble.com agrees. “thousands of children have learned to read with richard scarry’s busy, colorful, generous books. but scarry has done more than help kids read. with their bright illustrations, simple text, and gentle lessons on sharing and tolerance, scarry’s stories have also helped kids grow up and relate to people around them.”
i was however shocked with the plot, conflict, resolution and felt the character development lacked greatly. after getting through the cardboard pages, i’m not even sure if miss honey is the protagonist or the antagonist. it could more appropriately be named “miss honey’s horrifying bus ride.” as for this book helping children, i only foresee it helping children to be terrified to ride the school bus.
let me explain. spotty the leopard (aka bus driver) isn’t feeling well. he calls miss honey to fill in. the apron-clad, breakfast serving miss honey politely accepts. at no point does scarry explain miss honey’s qualifications to accept said mission. miss honey does express her anxiety to drive the bus when she sees all the buttons (rightfully so, since later in the book it is revealed she is in fact the school teacher!). foreshadowing things to come, miss honey crashes the bus two times before the children even get on the bus.
the story line continues with a reckless disregard for the safety and well being of small elementary children. during the climax of the book, miss honey takes a wrong turn and plummets the bus with all the children into a lake. the children are rescued from the top of the bus. miraculously no one is injured, or upset for that matter. except for spotty. he was feeling better and decided to head in to school to fulfill his other job of janitor. but once he sees his bus he heads straight back to his sick bed.
like i said, in a day where school shootings and crime terrorize our schools and where school bus accidents elicit a breaking news banner, i just can’t stand behind mr. scarry’s irresponsible writing. leave this one on the shelf, it’s not worth your time.