by Naaz Khan (Author) Mercè López (Illustrator)
A young boy on a crowded bus discovers that, after some wiggles and giggles, there's room for everyone in this lighthearted rhyming picture book set in Zanzibar.
The dala dala rumbles and roars as Musa and Dada drive off to the shore--but the bus stops for multiple detours: "Do you need a ride? It's hotter than peppers out there in the sun! Come in, there's room for everyone!"
One stop becomes two stops which soon becomes ten, and Musa wonders when it will end: "How can any more people get in? We're already smushed like sardines in a tin!" But there's always room for one more, if you make the room, which is the heartwarming take-away from this bouncy, joyous tale in rhyme.
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East Africa is presented richly and distinctly in López's dynamic artwork, but the overall experience of riding and building community on the daladala is not only accessible, but easily familiar to much of the world in this charming story. Khan and López take readers on a uniquely East African journey toward a global sense of compassion and inclusion.
This irrepressible story in verse by newcomer Khan is simultaneously a counting book and a study in generosity of spirit. Siblings Musa and Dada are taking a daladala to the "blue crystal waters of Zanzibar" when the driver spots an old man and his bicycle. "It's hotter than peppers out there in the sun," the driver calls. "Come in, there's room for everyone!" More invitations follow: a herder and two goats, three fruit vendors, a farmer with four full milk pails. Musa protests: "We don't have the space!" But the passengers willingly relinquish room (through "a shuffle, a squirm, and a squeeze") to accommodate the newcomers. By the time 10 divers want to board the bursting vehicle, Musa has entered into the spirit of things: "Come join the fun! We'll make enough room for everyone!" López (I Am Smoke) brings bright color, fine draftsmanship, and communal warmth to jovially packed spreads. Even the characters' robes and the attractive chaos of the things they carry are captured with care in this affirming portrait set in East Africa. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.