HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey through Central America
Author: Janet LoSole
Cover Illustrator: Mike Surber
Publisher: Resource Publications, 2019
ISBN-13: 978-1532684876 Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1532684878 Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-1532684869 Paperback
ISBN-10: 153268486X Paperback
Related website(s): http://www.wipfandstock.com (publisher)
Language level: 3
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing and/or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing and/or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 16 and up (younger if edited while reading aloud)
Rating: **** 4 stars
(5 stars=EXCELLENT; 4 stars=GOOD; 3 stars=FAIR; 2 stars=POOR; 1 star=VERY POOR; no stars=NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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LoSole, Janet. Adventure by Chicken Bus: An Unschooling Odyssey through Central America (Published in 2019 by Resource Publications, an imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8th Ave., Suite 3, Eugene, OR 97401). Author Janet LoSole, her husband Lloyd, and their two homeschooled daughters, eight year old Jocelyn and five year old Natalie, leave their home in Ontario, Canada, and embark on a nineteen month long backpacking field trip to Central America. The family visits a sleepy island backwater in Costa Rica to save endangered sea turtles. In Panama, they bounce around like turnips in the back of a vegetable truck to reach an isolated monkey sanctuary. In Guatemala, they scale the ancient Mayan temples of Tikal. They also visit places in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Belize, and pass through parts of southern Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on their way to catch a plane at Cancun for home.
The purpose was to instill in the children a love of travel and to teach them about respecting foreign cultures. By the way, do you know what chicken buses are? On the negative side, farting is mentioned several times. There are references to drinking beer, rum, and wine. The “d” and “h” words are used occasionally. The statement that after hitting a bump while riding a tandem bicycle someone “flew a**-over-teakettle” is found. And something is said to have occurred “Millions of year ago.” Otherwise, Adventure by Chicken Bus is an exceptionally well written and fun travelogue/memoir that will have the reader looking up all the places they visited. Details about the living conditions of the population will give readers a new perspective on the area, with lessons about ecology, geography, history, language, and poverty.
Janet endorses community-based travel, supporting local businesses and favoring public transportation. She and her husband use responsible world travel as the primary educational resource for their two homeschooled daughters. The casual and natural style of the writing makes for enjoyable reading about this family’s adventures and all of their different experiences. I was especially taken with this observation. “Many also confessed they felt uncomfortable with the idea of spending 24/7 with their spouse or children….Homeschooling trained the girls and me to be tolerant of one another and to behave in a way that enabled us to thrive in each other’s constant presence.” Isn’t that what homeschooling is all about?