It is the lovely communality of the story—an ever-presence that is elegantly, softly presented—that will grab young readers, simply because the school bus is just so cool. It’s got birds nesting in the engine block, a Foosball table, music, all sorts of things going on and the usual joyful noise of people up to whatever it is they enjoy being up to. Aiding the mood of merriment are Graham’s illustrations, with their sinewy black line work, delicate, peaches-and-cream colors and loving depiction of all kinds of people. The destination sign on the bus reads “Heaven,” and just so, a little piece here on Earth.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
In a story where every turn is possible, if improbable, Graham makes readers believe. High hopes and busy, vibrant artwork that mixes metaphor with true grit will entice children—and parents—into further rereadings.
—Booklist (starred review)
Graham’s ink-and-watercolor scenes capture the small details of a struggling urban neighborhood eager for a sign of hope. And he effortlessly depicts a slice of city life, in which people of various religions, races, ages, and occupations pull together as one. As Stella shifts from meek to bold, and the bus transforms into a rainbow of color and activity, Graham’s artwork grows brighter, too, highlighting the story’s transformative message.
Ink and watercolor cartoon illustrations reinforce the earnest story’s message of unity and hope, capturing the welcoming heart and spirit of Stella’s urban neighborhood.
—School Library Journal
Graham’s inviting ink and watercolor illustrations vary perspectives dynamically. Close-up, detailed panels celebrate difference, while expansive single- and double-page views pull back to place this little urban utopia in a bleak industrial landscape.
—The Horn Book
If you’ve ever wanted to teach your children about the importance of community, and what can be accomplished with a little determination and a lot of creativity, this one’s for you.
—Huffington Post Parents blog