Meet Jay-Jay The Supersonic Bus, the four-wheeled, double-decker star of Sue Wickstead's lovely picture book.
At the start of the book, Jay-Jay (so named because of the first two letters on his license plate, which Pierre thought was brilliant - now he's trying to come up with a name for our car and every other car we see in the street!) isn't supersonic at all. He's a very dejected and dilapidated bus that's been left to rot in a scrapyard.
But he's about to get a new lease of life, being transformed into a mobile kids' playground, complete with slide, painting stations and sand tables. I wish we had one of those around here for the Madhouse kids to play in !
Pierre loved seeing the bus change from broken down and sad to happy and brightly coloured. The vibrant illustrations really bring the story to life and Pierre has been flicking through all by himself, "reading" the story to himself by explaining everything he sees in the pictures and that he can remember from when I read it to him.
He was slightly perturbed by the word supersonic in the title - he wanted to know what it meant and when I explained, he said that Jay-Jay wasn't really supersonic. I tied it in to the aeroplanes in the book but we couldn't really work out why an airport would want to buy a children's fun bus either ! The back of the book mentions that this is a fictional tale based on a real life bus called Supersonic so it would have been nice to have a page at the end, explaining a bit more about the real-life bus and maybe showing a picture of it, to see how it inspired Jay-Jay.
As with all great books, the story reminded Pierre of things we'd seen in real life - an old double-decker bus that has been transformed into a mobile pizza restaurant.
And another one that came to our town square as a mobile party zone with DJs on the top deck !
Pierre also loved seeing Buckingham Palace feature at the end of the story, as it was a place we'd visited on a trip to London last year.
It's a story that will appeal to young children of both sexes and I've been asked to read it several times since it arrived at The Madhouse. It has led on to discussions about recycling/upcycling, overcoming adversity and fun things to do in the holidays, as well as designing our own fun bus and even making a cardboard box bus during the hoidays.
This is the first Jay-Jay book but there will be more, so we'll definitely be keen to see what other adventures he gets up to.
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £6.99
Disclosure : We received the book in order to write an honest review.