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A Bus of Our Own
     

A Bus of Our Own

by Freddi Williams Evans, Shawn Costello (Illustrator)
 

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Mable Jean wants to go to school. She has to walk five miles to get there, though, and her papa told her that if she can't keep up, she'll have to wait another year. Mable Jean asks her parents why the black children don't have a bus, too.

Overview


Mable Jean wants to go to school. She has to walk five miles to get there, though, and her papa told her that if she can't keep up, she'll have to wait another year. Mable Jean asks her parents why the black children don't have a bus, too.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This satisfyingly different title is worthy of acquisition and begs to be read aloud and discussed."

School Library Journal

Children's Literature
Mable Jean's folks allow her to walk to the school if she can keep up with the other children but when she injures her ankle, walking is hard. The white school bus passes them each day but African American children don't have a bus. That is, until Mable Jean starts asking about getting a school bus. Cousin Smith who owns property and often hires Mable Jean's cousins and friends to pick cotton, finally offers to buy a bus, fix it up and take children to school providing their parents contribute to the bus's upkeep. Although the county ought to provide a bus for all children from the taxes both black and white pay, it seems, says Cousin Smith, that "we have to pay twice for our children to get a good learning." The amazed Mable Jean climbs on the bus and people cheer as it pulls away to school. An author's note explains how she was raised in Mississippi in the days of "separate but equal" rights and how in 1949, events like those depicted in the story, actually happened. Costello's paint and pastel impressionistic illustrations capture shine and shadow on faces perfectly and warmly suggest the fall countryside in which events take place. A good first effort by author and illustrator and one that adds further detail and texture to the era before Brown v. Board of Education. 2001, Albert Whitman, $15.95. Ages 7 to 10. Reviewer: Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-This story, based on true events, tells how Mable Jean's simple question inspired a community of African Americans in post-World War II Mississippi to beat the odds. Walking five miles to school is hard enough, but enduring stormy weather and the teasing of the white children who get to ride on a bus is even worse. The child asks her father and her teacher why there is no bus for her school and if they know anyone who could get one. Then she asks her Cousin Smith-and gets results. After a lot of hard work and cooperation by the community, a school bus for black children is in operation. While it is not equal to the vehicles provided by the county, it is a remarkable labor of love. Though the oil paintings are hazy (like memories), the effects are remarkably strong; for example, the faces of the white children riding the bus tell a story by themselves. This satisfyingly different title is worthy of acquisition and begs to be read aloud and discussed.-Thomas Pitchford, Rosenthal Elementary, Alexandria, LA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sacrificing and working together, Mable Jean's African-American sharecropping community repairs a broken-down bus in order to transport her and the other children to school. Costello is noted for her bibliotherapeutic work in Mommy Far, Mommy Near (2000), but the art for this effort is far better than the typical pictures that accompany therapeutic materials. Unfortunately, in some spots the text is nearly impossible to read, placed as it is on top of the darkly rich pictures. An author's note explains that this is based on a historical incident in Madison, Mississippi, and gives some context of the near-slave conditions that sharecropping forced. Mable Jean's pure desire to obtain an education despite the enormous problems facing her, mirrors the actual incident. First-time author Evans's story is clearly written and well told; what could have been preachy comes through as a thoughtful reconstruction of events and a gentle tribute to determination. Though couched in a picture-book format, several pages of heavy text make it more suitable to the younger fiction collection. (Fiction. 8-11)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807509715
Publisher:
Whitman, Albert & Company
Publication date:
01/01/2001
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
7.70(w) x 10.78(h) x 0.13(d)
Age Range:
6 - 10 Years

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