Jay-Jay and the Carnival

Children - Picture Book
40 Pages
Reviewed on 01/22/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I am a teacher. I love telling, and sharing stories with children.
When my children were little, they attended a Playbus, this was a play project based on a double-decker bus. We had many adventures and lots of fun on the bus. My story books have links to this involvement as well as adventures from my teaching career.
Following the first Jay-Jay story based on the Playbus my daughter suggested I should write about some of the fun things we did with the bus. She remembered fondly how the bus was always in the local Carnival. The Playbus was one of the last ever float winners before the Carnivals stopped.
In this book the theme of the Carnival was ‘Flight’, which was perfect for Jay-Jay with his aeroplane along his sides.
After a summer of fun, Jay-Jay, and his family visitors, get ready to join in the fun of the parade.
But will he get there?
Once more in fictional form, Jay-Jay visited Spain, but in my mind, this time to join in with the fiestas.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite

Jay-Jay is a very special bus. He’s not a school bus or a city bus. He’s a playbus. All summer long, Jay-Jay visits different parts of the community so that the children can enjoy playing on him, in him, and around him. The end of summer is marked by a special carnival and a parade. Jay-Jay is the key attraction. But on his way to this year’s carnival parade, Jay-Jay has some engine problems and his driver has to pull off the road when he stalls. Will Jay-Jay make it to the parade on time? And who is this smartly dressed man who stops to help?

Teacher and author, Sue Wickstead has written several books on the Jay-Jay theme. Her stories are based on the real playbus, Bewbush Playbus, which is a regular feature in the annual Crawley carnival parade. Families work together to create a special bus to demonstrate the annual theme. In her picture book story, Jay-Jay and the Carnival, Jay-Jay is decorated and painted to feature the theme of flight. “Supersonic” was painted on Jay-Jay’s side, along with an airplane to make the playbus truly fit into the theme.

This is a beautiful, fun little story with exciting and colorful illustrations. The fact that the story is based on a real playbus makes it all the more interesting. The story promotes the idea of play - real play, imaginary play - something sadly missing in today’s world. Children are encouraged to play on the playbus, to use their imaginations, and to create something truly fantastic. A simple story, packed with good, positive vibes.

donnas book blog

We loved it!!

August 26, 2019
I love the books in this series and I love seeing the different adventures that Jay-Jay gets up too and this one is a lot of fun!

The images in this book are a pure delight and I really enjoy sitting down with my daughter to read the stories and share in the joy of her imagination. She is only young and a little under the target age range for the book but I think it shows how strong the story is that she will willingly pick up the book at bedtime and talk to me about the different pictures on the pages.

Jasmine J

Fun for kids to read

July 20, 2019
Jay-Jay and the Carnival is a fun, colorfully illustrated book featuring everyone's favorite playbus. This time, Jay-Jay is leading the parade to celebrate the end of summer holiday. On his way to the carnival, though, something bad happens. Does Jay-Jay make it to the carnival in time? You'll have to read it and find out.

I really liked this story. It's my second adventure with Jay-Jay, and I can say that my 4-year old son also enjoys reading the stories about Jay-Jay with me. The illustrations are bright and eye-catching. The story is fun and easy to read. Beginning readers will find it engaging and straightforward, and parents will like the fact that the book is entertaining and will keep their child's attention.

I would definitely recommend this (and the other Jay-Jay stories) to everyone.

Books of all kind

A delightful picture book

July 15, 2019
Well, I can't review JAY-JAY AND THE CARNIVAL without first commenting on this beautiful, colourful cover that gives you just a little hint to the adventure that is waiting inside.

Jay-Jay isn't just any ordinary bus. Jay-Jay is special and inside there are so many toys and nooks and crannies where children can play and have a fun experience. But when the bus breaks down, will it make to the carnival in time? Will the children be left disappointed?

I didn't realise that this book was part of a series but I'm delighted that it is because it means that there are more of these lovely stories available for kids to enjoy. The illustrations are vibrant and inspire conversation, and the adventures that the kids enjoy on Jay-Jay the bus are simply lovely.

JAY-JAY AND THE CARNIVAL by Sue Wickstead is a delightful story that will make the perfect picture book for young children and I highly recommend it.

Marie T

Classic, slightly nostalgic, and wonderfully wholesome...

March 8, 2018

The Jay-Jay series is always a fun one to come back to. I really look forward to each new book, because they feel like a throwback to the books I grew up with. The style is classic, slightly nostalgic, and wonderfully wholesome. Obviously, that starts with a great cover. This one is as bright, fun, and engaging as the previous ones, and I continue to be a big fan of the illustrator.


As you might expect, the artwork throughout this book is wonderful too. There's not much that I can say that I haven't already said in reviews of previous Jay-Jay books. The illustrator continues to turn out fabulous, fun, engaging artwork that perfectly fits the tone of the story.


Forget treehouses - I want a playbus in my backyard! This is the kind of thing I would have loved as a kid ... and to be honest, I'd still love this now. This Jay-Jay episode is as great as the first two. It's a simple story, but written in an engaging, entertaining way. If you haven't read the first two books in the series, I highly recommend them.