All Aboard the London Bus by Patricia Toht & Sam Usher

Are you planning a trip to London? All Aboard the London Bus takes us on a wonderful rhyming tour around London and introduces us to the city through 24 fun to read, child friendly poems. There are many references to London’s history as well as the inclusion of architectural and cultural aspects – travelling on the tube, drinking tea and rain!

The Story: A family of four invites us to climb on a London bus for a tour. It’s a busy day which starts with watching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and ends up at The Tower of London.

In Westminster Abbey we look up, around and down. Then we hear Big Ben ‘BONNNG’, play ‘Seek and Find’ at Trafalgar Square before squashing into an underground train. At Piccadilly Circus we get caught in the rain before stopping for tea and a visit to the toy store.

Our particular favourites are the way that The London Eye is described as ‘a bracelet that hangs off the arm of the Thames’, the poem describing Sir Christopher Wren rebuilding St. Paul’s Cathedral and the letter written by Tower Bridge to clear up any misunderstanding about its name, ‘London Bridge and I are NOT the same!’.

A variety of poetic forms including haiku, limericks and rhyming couplets are included and add to the originality of the tour. The British Museum introduces several of its exhibits through ‘A Gallery of Haiku’, the poem about the River Thames is a shape poem written in the river and we love the repetitive refrain ‘That’s Art’ in The Tate Modern poem.

Each landmark is shown in a beautifully illustrated double spread and is labelled with a street sign. We’re huge fans of Sam Usher and love the inclusion of so many intricate details in his illustrations. Each is a work of art. They capture the vibrance of London, the essence of its diverse crowds, the domes and spires that dominate its skyline and the architectural features of palaces and churches. Humour is added in each spread by the inclusion of a mischievous raven – he’s on the bus when the family boards and follows them from stop to stop until, tired and weary, they get to The Tower of London.

More detailed facts about each landmark are included in a glossary at the end of the book. All Aboard the London Bus would be a great book to use in a classroom topic about London but also in a literacy lesson to study different forms of poetic structure. After reading the book children could be encouraged to write a poem about one of their local landmarks.

We’d love to read another book like this – maybe a trip around Paris or Amsterdam? It’s not just a fun picture book for children, it’s an amazing travel guide for readers of all ages!

Age Range: 3 +

Author: Patricia Toht / Illustrator: Sam Usher

Thank you to Frances Lincoln Children’s Books for enabling us to read a review copy of this wonderful book on Netgalley.

2 thoughts on “All Aboard the London Bus by Patricia Toht & Sam Usher

  1. Thank you for your kind review of All Aboard the London Bus, Catherine! I love hearing which poems are your favourites – I always wonder about that. Great ideas for classroom use, too. Cheers!

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