All Around Bustletown is a series of oversize board books, originally published in Germany that introduces readers to a bustling little town where there’s so much to see! Let’s enjoy the four seasons as experienced by the citizens of Bustletown, several of whom we meet on the back cover of the book: Sadie, whose car won’t start in the cold; a motorcyclist who comes from far away; Petra, a bookworm who loves to read, and more.
It’s winter in Bustletown! The trees are bare, the townsfolk are bundled up, and the day begins on a clear, cold morning. There are seven spreads we visit in our trek through the town: a cross section of a house with a busy street in front, where we can board a bus that will take us through the book; a country scene with a house in the background, a farmer’s market and garage/gas station in the foreground; a cross section of a shopping and transportation center; a busy town, where we notice ground being broken on a new kindergarten to come and a cultural center with a library, museum, and performance area; the center of town has shops and shoppers; a shopping mall with parking garage has a bunch of holiday shoppers making their purchases; and a petting zoo overlooks an iced over pond and cafe, where skaters practice and kids slide down a snowy hill.
It’s a series of fun winter scenes with so much to see. Readers can look for townsfolk introduced on the back cover, and there are so many details to spot! Follow the bus as it rides through each spread; count Christmas trees on each spread; follow a person wandering the town with a goose under their arm; will that lady in the yellow jacket catch up to the bus? Seek and find readers will enjoy this wordless book where they can create their own adventures.
Spring comes to Bustletown with green landscapes and budding trees! A garbage truck trundles through the book and a fox shows up to stir up some excitement. The farmer’s market is open and the animals are out, enjoying the springtime. A class trip enjoys a trip to the museum and that new kindergarten is still under construction. There are some new residents to follow, like Officer Tony, who’s very busy; and Tom the Cat, who joins Bonnie on walks through town. Other characters return, like Anne, who gave up on trying to catch the bus and is going on a long hike. There’s always something to see in Bustletown. Work with your littles to identify colors (bright primary colors prominently feature in the artwork), everyday items like trees, trucks, or cats. Ask bigger littles what they notice in Bustletown that reminds them from home: shopping with Mom? Visiting a petting zoo or farm? Ask questions: what is that person doing, walking around with a goose? Where do you think the fox is going next?
Summer comes to Bustletown! The greenery is thick and lush, and a new driver cruises along the spreads. It’s time to pick strawberries at the farm, and crows are eating the ripe cherries from the trees. The fish store has started selling sushi, there’s a new armor exhibit at the museum, there’s a sidewalk sale at the bookstore, and the kindergarten will open in October! For readers who go through the whole series, it’s fun to see how life moves forward as the books progress through the year. There’s a birthday in the park, a penguin balloon on the loose, and Tom the cat has a new mission: find a mouse. By introducing new characters and continuing to build on others, readers will enjoy visiting Bustletown and their friends, knowing there’s something new to find every time.
The last book in the All Around Bustletown series hits the U.S. this summer, with its townspeople getting ready for winter. A street sweeper trundles through the town, getting leaves under control, and George and Anne load a giant pumpkin into a wagon and head for the big pumpkin carving contest at the cultural center. The leaves are turning color and falling; there’s pumpkins everywhere, and fall colors dominate the scene: lighter greens, bright oranges, and reds decorate the pages. Geese fly south for the winter, and the new Kindergarten opens for a brand new school year! A lantern parade makes its way through the town square, heading for the park, and Halloween costumes show up in a store window. It’s a sweet conclusion to a year full of stories.
The Bustletown books are a very nice add to board book collections. Their large size makes it easy to fit loads of details in for readers to seek out, and the thick pages will stand up to repeated reads.