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Children's Fiction Death & Dying

The Wrong Bus

by (author) Lois Peterson

illustrated by Amy Meissner

Orca Book Publishers
Initial publish date
May 2012
Death & Dying, Multigenerational, Cars & Trucks
Recommended Age
6 to 8
Recommended Grade
1 to 3
Recommended Reading age
6 to 8
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2012
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    May 2012
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Jack loves and misses his bus-driving grandfather. When Grandpa Nod got sick, Jack's mother said eight-year-old Jack was too young to visit his grandfather in the hospital. When Grandpa Nod died, Jack's mother said Jack was too young to go to the funeral.

One day after school, Jack gets on the wrong bus. To his surprise he discovers Grandpa Nod is in the driver's seat of the empty bus. Grandpa Nod takes him to all the places Jack was too young to go—the hospital, the funeral home and the cemetery.

By the end of the ride, Jack has had the chance to tell his grandfather how much he misses him. And with his birthday coming soon, Jack receives a very special gift—Grandpa Nod's bus schedules. So even if he does get on the wrong bus, Jack will always be able to find his way home.

About the authors

Lois Peterson wrote short stories and articles for adults for twenty years before turning to writing for kids. She was bornin England and has lived in Iraq, France and the United States. Recently retired from her job as a librarian, she now lives in Surrey, British Columbia, where she writes, reads and teaches creative writing to adults, teens and children. Lois is the author of several books for children and youth, including Beyond Repair in the Orca Currents series.

Lois Peterson's profile page

Amy Meissner currently lives and works in Anchorage, Alaska. Her two, bad orange cats keep her company in the studio all day long where she paints, draws, writes, cuts fabric and moves cats off the things they aren't supposed to sleep on. Creating art for children's books is Amy's favorite job, but she also illustrates for posters and articles. She recently completed an MFA in Creative Writing and has undergraduate degrees in both Art and Textiles.


Amy Meissner's profile page


  • Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens

Excerpt: The Wrong Bus (by (author) Lois Peterson; illustrated by Amy Meissner)

There was no number on the next bus. Jack stepped back. He expected it to pass by, headed for the depot. But it stopped in front of him.
The doors wheezed open.
The sun shone in Jack's face. He couldn't see the driver.
"Hop on, son," a voice said.
"This is the wrong bus," Jack said. "I need the Number 26."
"This will do. Hop on, Jawbreaker."
Jawbreaker! Jack raced up the stairs. "Grandpa!"

Editorial Reviews

"Peterson has addressed the issue of death and grief in a respectful manner...Readers who are dealing with the death of a loved one may find that this book gives them the tools to address the feelings they are experiencing. It could definitely be used by parents, teachers and counsellors to help young children understand the grieving process."

Resource Links

"Although this seems like a sad story, it is well told and could help any child get through losing a grandparent."

Southwest Ohio Young Adult Materials Review Group

"Peterson deals with a sensitive issue in a light-hearted, non-threatening manner. She allows the reader to empathize with Jack as he tries to understand and come to terms with his loss. Soft, b&w illustrations are peppered throughout the text, creating an added sense of comfort. This would be a good choice for a child who is dealing with the death of a loved one."

Library Media Connection

"A gentle way of talking to children about aging, illness, death and grief."

The Muskokan

"For children who have recently lost someone in their lives, or for any child who is curious about death, this story is a good option...The Wrong Bus is a unique story that lets children confront an important subject at their own level, making it a good addition to both personal and school collections. Recommended."

CM Magazine

"Jack soberly takes in each scene, asks cogent questions...and absorbs his grandpa’s comforting responses...while quietly demonstrating that, given just a little distance, he—and, by extension, young children in general—is indeed capable of comprehending and coping with the loss of loved ones."


Other titles by Lois Peterson

Other titles by Amy Meissner