The bus brought change to Stella’s street.
Traffic slowed where no traffic slowed before.
People stopped and talked together – just a little, but they talked.
Stella changed too.
One morning a bus – curiously named ‘Heaven’ – is mysteriously abandoned right outside Stella’s house, bringing with it change. people gather to look and to marvel. But it is Stella who see the bus’s true potential, and has it moved into her driveway. There it continues to attract people. Kids come to play in and around it, adults clean it up, street artists paint it, and birds nest in the engine. There is music and laughter and community – until a tow truck comes to take the bus away. It is once again up to Stella to find a solution to keep the bus where it is needed.
A Bus Called Heavenis a warm hearted, whimsical tale about community, and friendship, and the magic which can bring otherwise isolated or just different people together. The people who come to be part of Stella’s bus community are different ages, from different cultures and with different interests. They use the bus for different purposes – to read, to play, to create art, even to show slides, bu they are united in the knowledge that the bus is ‘theirs’. For Stella, who is almost ghost-like in her quietness, and indeed is rendered visually as almost transparent, the arrival of the mysterious bus sparks a transformation. It is she who sees the potential of the bus, she who leads its transformation, and she who fights to keep the bus when it is taken away to the scrapyard.
This is a triumphant book, with a touching story and wonderful art in which Graham creates so many diverse characters, and deftly shows the contrast between the warmth surrounding Heaven and the busy, dreary city scape.
It sounds corny, but this is a heavenly book.
A Bus Called Heaven, by Bob Graham
Walker Books, 2011
This book can be purchased in good bookstores, or online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.