The Topsy-Turvy Bus, by Anita Fitch Pazner/Illustrated by Carolina Farías, (March 2022, Kar-Ben Publishing), $17.99, ISBN: 9781728419497
Environmentalism is so much fun in this uplifting story inspired by a real-life powered by a real-life religious environmental agency whose biodiesel bus runs on “sunlight, veggie oil, and Torah”. Maddie and Jake are two students who are worried about the Earth after learning about all the environmental challenges the planet faces – pollution, overplanting, drilling and mining – but aren’t sure what to do until the Topsy Turvy Bus rolls into town, smelling like donuts thanks to biofuel power! Wren, the Topsy Turvy Bus driver, gets the class and teacher on board, and takes them all over town to introduce ways people are coming together to heal our planet; from worm farmers who help create healthy compost to nourish soil, to collecting discarded oil from food vendors to use as biofuel, the Topsy Turvy Bus has exciting lessons to teach. The upbeat story moves at an easy-to-read, easy-to-understand pace, with the repetitive phrase “Tikkun olam, tikkun olam, tikkun olam / Repair the world, repair the world, repair the world” running throughout. Artwork is bright, colorful, and kid-friendly, and the story is inspiring, spurring readers to action. Back matter includes notes on the actual Topsy-Turvy Bus and the concept of Tikkum olam; a glossary, and instructions for an easy-to-make compost bin. A fun story with an empowering message, The Topsy-Turvy Bus is a good addition to collections and storytimes; display this one with your Earth Day titles.