The Hundred Decker Bus / The Hundred Decker Rocket

The Hundred Decker Bus
The Hundred Decker Rocket

Mike Smith
Macmillan Children’s Books

New to me but a reissue of his debut picture book is Mike Smith’s The Hundred Decker Bus. Tired of his usual routine, the bus driver takes inspiration from a passing hot air balloon and decides to take a new route that he’s never before noticed. Imagine being on that bus: what would your reaction be to a diversion to nobody knows where? That of the passengers (whose numbers increase en route), is one of happy abandon, as after a day’s driving the bus reaches …

But that is only a small part of their adventure about which I’ll say no more other than the sky’s the limit … or maybe it’s not.

This fantastical story with its awesome fold-out page will grip youngsters as they explore not only that spread but every one of Mike Smith’s humorous, highly detailed scenes be they large or small.

Share this uplifting picture book reissue either with one child, a group or a whole class. It has huge potential in the classroom.

So too does The Hundred Decker Rocket. This begins in Ivy’s bedroom where she’s just finished creating a massive telescope through which she sees a strange and beautiful ‘something’ glimmering in the sky far off. An adventure beckons Ivy and her trusty dog Eddie, but that will require another round of constructing.

Several days later the two are blasting off skywards in their rocket, landing unceremoniously, after what seems an incredibly long journey. on a planet entirely covered in rubbish.

Eddie learns from the resident environmentally un-savvy aliens that they’ve messed up their home and now want to leave and find a new place to live – if Ivy and Eddie help them build a spaceship that is. The construction continues apace as more and more aliens appear and yet more rubbish accumulates and is used, leaving the planet much cleaner.

With a hundred decks duly built, they deem the rocket ready for boarding and blast off takes place that night.

Eventually the aliens agree on what they feel is a suitable new planet and down they go … but there’s a strange familiarity about it …

With a great final twist, incredibly detailed, zany scenes that youngsters will pore over for hours revelling in the wealth of humorous touches, including speech bubbles and onomatopoeic noises off, and its fold-out page, this is a cracking book. Highly relevant is the vital environmental message about the importance of caring for our planet.

If you’re after a fun story or a super starting point for an ecological discussion that will galvanise children to take care what they throw out and where/how they dispose of it, this is it.

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