Overview

Gus is a very large, very special green dinosaur—and he makes the perfect city schoolbus. Or does he? He causes traffic jams, gets tangled in telephone lines, knocks down traffic lights, and creates potholes with his big stomping feet. If the principal fires Gus from schoolbus duty, how will the thirty-ton dino find a new job?

Lynn’s wonderful, sketchy watercolor and pencil illustrations recall old classics, as does the pleasantly preposterous ...

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Gus, the Dinosaur Bus

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Overview

Gus is a very large, very special green dinosaur—and he makes the perfect city schoolbus. Or does he? He causes traffic jams, gets tangled in telephone lines, knocks down traffic lights, and creates potholes with his big stomping feet. If the principal fires Gus from schoolbus duty, how will the thirty-ton dino find a new job?

Lynn’s wonderful, sketchy watercolor and pencil illustrations recall old classics, as does the pleasantly preposterous story of a dinosaur who just wants to be helpful.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Liu begins with the high points of a unique student transport system: “Who needs a bus stop when you have a dinosaur bus? Gus comes right to the door.” Attendance improves, too: “Nobody sleeps late or pretends to be sick. They can’t wait for Gus to arrive.” But there are problems, as Lynn’s goofy, childlike drawings show. “Lately, the school is getting more and more complaints.... The bills to fix the things Gus has broken are piling up.” At last the principal has to shut the dinosaur bus down, and Gus is brokenhearted until the children discover that he makes an excellent living playground. Lynn’s scrawled figures convey a surprising amount of feeling, as when the harassed principal is shown a photo of some new damage Gus has caused and hangs his head in despair. Liu focuses less on Gus as a character and more on a lighthearted examination of dinosaur infrastructure, a lure for kids interested in buses, highways, and big things generally. The ending doesn’t quite live up to the initial excitement, but it’s still a promising outing from this Taiwanese duo. Ages 4–8. (July)
From the Publisher
"In tone and visual details, this gentle story is reminiscent of Syd Hoff's classic Danny and the Dinosaur. . . . Gus's story holds universal appeal; even a dinosaur can learn to turn lemons into lemonade."
School Library Journal

"The story's mild suspense is just right for the book's audience. . . And the kindly pea-green dino steals the show with his huge smile and even bigger heart."
The Horn Book Magazine

"An especially charming addition to the genre."
The New York Times Book Review

"Liu's evocative present-tense text in this Taiwanese import is rich with scene-setting detail yet also simple and confiding in its descriptions, hitting all those details that make this a perfect child-sized dinosaur fantasy."
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Children's Literature - Veronica Bartles
The lucky children of one special school do not walk or ride bicycles. They ride a dinosaur bus to school each day. No one is ever late, and children would rather go to school than pretend to be sick, because riding the dinosaur to school is such a lot of fun. But a supersaurus walking through the city streets every day causes no end of problems. Traffic jams, super-sized potholes, and downed power lines are only the beginning. Before long, with bills piling up for all the costly repairs, the principal decides that he can no longer afford to use Gus, the dinosaur as a school bus. But when the children attempt to cheer up a crying Gus, they discover quite by accident that he makes a great playground as well. Now, Gus and the children can spend time together every day in a different way. This story of a dinosaur school bus that becomes a playground is a great way to open discussions about thinking outside the box and looking for creative solutions when life does not go the way we want. Lynn’s simple illustrations, reminiscent of the crayon drawings a child might create, add to the light, fantastical feel of the story and further emphasize the message that children can find solutions to their problems, if they try. Reviewer: Veronica Bartles; Ages 5 up.
School Library Journal
PreS-K—When a long-necked dinosaur serves as the bus, none of the kids want to miss school. Though everyone loves Gus-the city even builds a special road just for him-the principal finally tires of complaints about him knocking down traffic lights and getting tangled in phone wires and removes him from the road. Relegated to the school gym, Gus makes a swimming pool with his tears and finds a new life as the school's playground, with a swing on his tail and his long neck serving as a slide. In tone and visual details, this gentle story is reminiscent of Syd Hoff's classic Danny and the Dinosaur (HarperCollins, 1958). Lynn's scratchy, childlike watercolor and pencil cartoons have a daydreamy quality that suits Liu's simple text. Gus's story holds universal appeal; even a dinosaur can learn to turn lemons into lemonade.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
Kirkus Reviews
In an odd mix of Syd Hoff's Danny and the Dinosaur (1999) and Steven Kellogg's The Mysterious Tadpole (1997, 2002), Liu and Lynn team up to present the tale of Gus, a dinosaur whose bus duties are not appreciated by all the townspeople. Kids in this city don't ever pretend to be sick and are quick to be ready for school on time--they can't wait to ride Gus, the dinosaur bus. The apartment dwellers just slide down Gus' neck--no need to go downstairs. But while the children all love Gus, he is not without his problems. Though the city builds him his own road, Gus still sometimes fouls the phone lines, bumps the overpasses and knocks down traffic lights. And that's not even considering the damage his tail does. The school can't continue to pay the bills; the principal sidelines Gus, who cries huge, bathtub-filling tears. And just like that, the children discover a new role for Gus that pleases everyone. Muted blues, reds and greens give the illustrations a retro feel that contrasts with Lynn's scribbly style. The rough, watercolor-and-pencil artwork may just inspire readers to pick up art materials of their own, though it does make it difficult to make out details in the larger spreads, in which people often get lost in the lack of definition. Dinosaur lovers may be enchanted, but others will want to stick to Gus' predecessors. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544052925
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 7/9/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • File size: 7 MB

Meet the Author

Julia Liu is the author of many children's picture books. Her work has been published in countries around the world, including China, Korea, Brazil, and the United States. Gus, the Dinosaur Bus is her first book with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Bei Lynn is an award-winning artist who has illustrated around 20 picture books for children, some of which she has also written. Her illustrations are mainly made of watercolor and pencil and have been published in numerous magazines. Her first book, To Be Fish, was published in 1999, and the China Times has selected her books for its Best Children’s Book of the Year list several times.

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