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The Topsy-Turvy Bus by Anita Fitch Pazner (Book Review)

Reuse, recycle, renew, and rethink!

Climb aboard the Topsy-Turvy Bus with Maddy and Jake as it travels around the country teaching communities the importance of taking care of the earth and creating a better, cleaner, healthier world.

Based on a real Topsy-Turvy Bus created by Hazon, the largest Jewish environmental organization in North America.

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For Teachers & Librarians

Bring Anita into your classroom! View her presentation list.

Download classroom worksheets here:

Worm Maze

Word Search

Word Scramble

Beginner Crossword Puzzle

Intermediate Crossword Puzzle

Topsy Turvy Coloring Page

Picture Matching Game

 

(review request submitted by the publisher for an honest critique) 

 

The Topsy-Turvy Bus is correct: “Our planet is dirty and messy.” Plastic bottles and garbage are littering our waters and our coastlines. The problem isn’t only the trash that plagues our seas. There’s also pollution from cars, fertilizers that taint our soils, and the adverse effects drilling and mining have on our environment. Earth is hurting, but how do we help it?

The children in the story don’t know what to do and discuss the issue when the most unusual bus rolls down the street. “Nobody had ever seen a bus like the Topsy-Turvy Bus. It was upside down and right side up, all at the same time. And it didn’t run on gasoline.” I’ve been behind trucks that smell like french fries from using recycled fast-food restaurants’ frying oil as fuel, but donuts—now, that’s a vehicle I’d love to travel behind or on! 

The Topsy-Turvy Bus will inspire children to think outside the box and be creative in reusing, recycling, or repurposing things around their house and community. Maybe your family or school could make this a project. 

Years ago, as a teacher, our school taught students the importance and value of starting a compost. Each classroom started and maintained one. I encourage you to read “Make Your Own Compost” and consider constructing one for your home or classroom. And as always, please reduce, recycle, and reuse.

Side note: I was shocked to realize the topsy-turvy bus was real. “You can find a Topsy-Turvy Bus in two locations in the United States. The first is in Connecticut, the second in Michigan. Both run on biodiesel fuel consisting of reusable veggie oil. The buses were created to teach kids how to recycle, rethink, reuse, and renew our world’s resources.” If I’m ever in those two states, I plan to hop aboard the unique and environmentally friendly topsy-turvy bus.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤

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About the Author

Anita earned an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts (VCFA) and a Master Gardening degree from Michigan State University. She’s created picture-book workshops for kids of all ages, ranging from second graders to high school students. She’s presented lectures for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), VCFA, and The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP). She continues to volunteer her time to several non-profit organizations including Hazon, dedicated to making the world a better, cleaner, kinder place for us all. Anita spends her free time training a rascally dog, named Finn, and playing in the dirt. 

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The Tickling Tale of Smoo by Louiza Kallona (Book Review)

Some strange things arrive suddenly, like frogs that rain down instead of cats and dogs. Other strange things creep up slowly until one day no one can ignore them any longer. This is the story of the McClaffertys, and the mysterious disappearance of laughter.

Lucy McClafferty and her brother Ben are fed up. The weather has been dreich for months, and no one is laughing anymore.

It’s up to Lucy and Ben to uncover the mystery of why the world has stopped laughing so laughter can return to the world again.

Join them on their weird and wonderful adventure as they travel to the top of Scotland, meet fantastical characters, face unexpected challenges, and discover that there is more to some people and places than meets the eye!

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery.  I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

 

The Tickling Tale of Smoo by Louiza Kallona was a wonderfully weird story filled with excitement and humor. It all began when people seemed to lose their will to smile. Grandma said it must have to do with Smoo, a tickler of the world. 

As Grandma, Lucy, Ben, and Patrick arrived at Gabel Lylhu’s cottage in Durness, the weirdest factor increased tenfold. First, Grandma whistled, and fireflies answered her call. Then, there’s the cottage itself. Its unique decor was definitely on the strange side: bronze fox nailed to the front door, crocodile-tooth light switches, blowfish skeletons, and a clock that bleats. The most unusual discovery was a gargantuan nose on the turquoise, conch-shaped couch. The nose sent snot soaring out of its nostrils. Gross! 

After the visitors woke Gabel Lylhu (aka Belly Laugh), we learned about his connection to Grandma. The revelation surprised me as much as it surprised Lucy and Ben. With a quick rundown on the world’s happenings, Gabel and the kids set to find the Smoo and tickle her. The adventure has readers meeting extraordinary people, witnessing unusual events, and hopping on a spectacularly odd bus (Grand Express) that children will be utterly fascinated by and probably say they’d like to ride. 

The Tickling Tale of Smoo had humor, suspense, unforgettable characters, and a unique plot that required an out-of-the-box-thinking resolution. Oh, it also had puzzles that would delight and thrill those who like solving riddles and anagrams. I want to note that the anagrams are not very easy and might prove difficult for young readers. However, the answers are provided as the author tells the story, and thank goodness for that because they stumped even me. 

Kids will love The Tickling Tale of Smoo. Adults will love it too. It’s a story that the entire family can read and enjoy together! 

 

Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 
Score: ❤❤❤

Amazon Purchase Link

 

 

 

Meet the Author

Louiza Kallona grew up in London but moved to Scotland aged eighteen, attracted by the history, the whopping volcanic rock, and the hope of meeting people as funny as Billy Connolly. She wrote The Tickling Tale of Smoo while living with five other bikers in a farmhouse in the Scottish Borders.

Reedsy Author Link

 

 

 

 

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