The Toy Bus

The Toy Bus
Amy Sparkes and Katie Hickey
Walker Entertainment

It’s always wonderful to visit the Repair Shop whether via the tv programme or through one of Amy Sparkes and Katie Hickey’s splendid picture books of which this is the second in the series. It begins with young Toby and his Granny Elsie paying a visit to the barn that is home to the Repair Shop. Jay Blades greets them warmly and at his behest, Granny explains the purpose of their visit by telling the back story of the bus she hopes his team can work their wonders on.

As children Elise and her little brother loved going to the park and watching the large red bus drive by. It became something of a game with Elsie dashing along by the park fence waving, something her little brother couldn’t do as he’d been born with cerebral palsy and could barely manage to stand up.

One day returning from the park, David spots something in a toy shop window: a red bus. Elsie feels sure it would help her brother but Mum says they don’t have the money. Not prepared to let matters rest, Elsie empties out her piggy bank; then she and Dad return to the shop and buy the bus. Back home David is thrilled and plays with the new bus all the time. Little by little he learns to pull himself up and using the bus for support, begins to walk, gradually becoming more assured, until one day it’s his turn to play race the bus at the park.

Now Granny Elsie hopes that the Repair Shop experts can fix the bus so that her own grandchildren can play with it. Step up Dom and Lucia who begin work straight away. Back at their home we see on the final spread a grown-up David using a zimmer frame looking on joyfully as the youngsters play with the restored bus; an important example of showing not telling.

An uplifting story and one in which those familiar with the tv series will recognise Jay and members of the team. Nonetheless both children and adults can enjoy this moving tale and spend time exploring Katie Hickey’s heart-warming scenes, including the detailed endpapers, together. The final spread recounts the true story of the toy bus and gives brief details about Jay and his team. More please!

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