Funny Things I Heard At The Bus Stop, Volume 1 by Angela Giroux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Kindle Edition, 97 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Red Alien Media
I picked this up quite some time ago when it was a freebie and am pleased to have found such a little treasure. Ms. Giroux proves to be a talented writer and wonderful storyteller. She has the narrative voice for elementary children down pat. The kids in these stories spoke and behaved realisticly. An impressive collection of short stories making a nice reader for advanced 2nd to 4th graders.
1. Prologue - Sets the framework as the narrator, a fifth-grader, introduces the kids who walk to the school bus stop together and says they tell stories, lots of stories. He's going to tell us four of his favourites. (Though there do end up being six stories in the collection.)
2. The Last Napkin - A funny little tale from a napkin's point of view from the factory to the napkin holder and the woes of being the last napkin in the pack. Uses the word "crap", needlessly. (3/5)
3. A Visit From Nonna Esmeralda - Nicely surprised at how well written this one was. Silly story really, but well told. Aiden's Nonna arrives from Italy for the first time with an amazing present for everyone except all Aiden gets is a cracked clay pot. Then Nonna takes him into the kitchen and shows him what the pot can do and Aiden realizes he has the most amazing present of all. (5/5)
4. My English Teacher is a Secret Agent - A third-grade class gets a very strange substitute English teacher. The narrator and his friend put all the evidence together and figure out he must be a secret agent. Very mysterious and well-written. (5/5)
5. The Mysterious Window - What a wonderful story! City-dweller Samantha's family go to visit Uncle Sam in the country and he gives her his little mysterious window which opens up a magical world for her. I knew how this was going to end, but children in the target age range for this storybook will be dazzled by the enchanting ending. The pacing is very good here too; the suspense builds up and up until the surprise finish. My favourite story! (5/5)
6. My Summer Vacation - What a Ride! - A fair opens for the summer and 9yo Peter is so excited, especially about the roller coaster. On his first visit, he finds he is old enough to ride the coaster but 2-inches too short. He spends the summer coming up with various ways to make himself taller to trick the ride operator. Very silly but amusing and I'm sure kids will find Peter very relatable. (4/5)
7. Frazzle Berries - A little monkey goes to get berries for her mummy and has a tale to tell when she gets back home with only five left. This story is out of place. On the whole, it is a cute little story about sharing but it doesn't belong in this collection. With the other stories being superbly written for 2nd-4th graders, this one comes in feeling like a bedtime story for toddlers. (2/5)
8. Epilogue - Narrator tells us he'll be back with more stories.