Review: The Topsy-Turvy Bus

The Topsy-Turvy Bus

by Anita Fitch Pazner, illustrated by Carolina Farías

Kar-Ben Publishing (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group), 2022

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Karin Fisher-Golton
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A bright yellow bus—with wheels on its top as well as its bottom—gives The Topsy-Turvy Bus its name and is also the perfect metaphor for the ideas its operators demonstrate on field trips, like the one described in this picture book. Young riders of the bus and readers of this book will learn that we can help the earth by thinking about familiar tasks a little differently—such as using cooking oil for fuel, powering a blender with a bicycle, and making soil by feeding worms. The Topsy-Turvy Bus is a much-needed addition to the literary offerings that engage children in thinking about how people can find creative solutions to make our regular activities easier on our planet. Kids will enjoy Anita Fitch Pazner’s lyric language and Carolina Farías’s warm, colorful illustrations.

In the main story, the only hint of the book’s Jewish connection is its repeating refrain “Tikkun olam, tikkun olam, tikkun olam. Repair the world, repair the world, repair the world.” In the back matter, readers can learn more about tikkun olam and Hazon, which is the largest faith-based organization in the United States and has real topsy-turvy buses. Though this connection may seem minor, it is significant, as there are few books that show people taking action to repair the world in connection to the idea of tikkun olam. The Topsy-Turvy Bus clearly meets all other criteria for consideration for the Sydney Taylor Book Award.
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Reviewer Karin Fisher-Golton is a freelance children’s book editor and the author of the board book
My Amazing Day: A Celebration of Wonder and Gratitude; retellings of folktales for a reading program; and poems in several anthologies. She is a member of the Board of Advisors for Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Read more about her work at


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