Last Stop on Market Street

Overview

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
 
This energetic ride through a bustling...

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Overview

Every Sunday after church, CJ and his grandma ride the bus across town. But today, CJ wonders why they don't own a car like his friend Colby. Why doesn’t he have an iPod like the boys on the bus? How come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? Each question is met with an encouraging answer from grandma, who helps him see the beauty—and fun—in their routine and the world around them.
 
This energetic ride through a bustling city highlights the wonderful perspective only grandparent and grandchild can share, and comes to life through Matt de la Pena’s vibrant text and Christian Robinson’s radiant illustrations.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Linda Sue Park
Robinson's simple shapes, bright palette and flat perspective belie a sophisticated use of acrylic and collage. His cityscape is diverse and friendly, without neglecting the grittiness: litter, graffiti, security grilles and a soup kitchen—CJ and Nana's destination. With this final detail, Last Stop on Market Street provides a gentle twist, letting readers in on the secret Nana and CJ have known all along: They're on the way to help others who have even less. But it's also the warmth of their intergenerational relationship that will make this book so satisfying, for both young readers and the adults sharing it with them.
Publishers Weekly
★ 10/27/2014
Like still waters, de la Peña (A Nation’s Hope) and Robinson’s (Gaston) story runs deep. It finds beauty in unexpected places, explores the difference between what’s fleeting and what lasts, acknowledges inequality, and testifies to the love shared by an African-American boy and his grandmother. On Sunday, CJ and Nana don’t go home after church like everybody else. Instead, they wait for the Market Street bus. “How come we don’t got a car?” CJ complains. Like many children his age, CJ is caught up in noticing what other people have and don’t have; de la Peña handles these conversations with grace. “Boy, what do we need a car for?” she responds. “We got a bus that breathes fire, and old Mr. Dennis, who always has a trick for you.” (The driver obliges by pulling a coin out of CJ’s ear.) When CJ wishes for a fancy mobile music device like the one that two boys at the back of the bus share, Nana points out a passenger with a guitar. “You got the real live thing sitting across from you.” The man begins to play, and CJ closes his eyes. “He was lost in the sound and the sound gave him the feeling of magic.” When the song’s over, the whole bus applauds, “even the boys in the back.” Nana, readers begin to sense, brings people together wherever she goes. Robinson’s paintings contribute to the story’s embrace of simplicity. His folk-style figures come in a rainbow of shapes and sizes, his urban landscape accented with flying pigeons and the tracery of security gates and fire escapes. At last, CJ and Nana reach their destination—the neighborhood soup kitchen. Nana’s ability to find “beautiful where he never even thought to look” begins to work on CJ as the two spot people they’ve come to know. “I’m glad we came,” he tells her. Earlier, Nana says that life in the deteriorated neighborhood makes people “a better witness for what’s beautiful.” This story has the same effect. Ages 3–5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
11/01/2014
K-Gr 2—After church on Sundays, CJ and his nana wait for the bus. It's a familiar routine, but this week CJ is feeling dissatisfied. As they travel to their destination, the boy asks a series of questions: "How come we gotta wait for the bus in all this wet?" "Nana, how come we don't got a car?" "How come we always gotta go here after church?" CJ is envious of kids with cars, iPods, and more freedom than he has. With each question, Nana points out something for CJ to appreciate about his life: "Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire." These gentle admonishments are phrased as questions or observations rather than direct answers so that CJ is able to take ownership of his feelings. After they exit the bus, CJ wonders why this part of town is so run-down, prompting Nana to reply, "Sometimes when you're surrounded by dirt, CJ, you're a better witness for what's beautiful." The urban setting is truly reflective, showing people with different skin colors, body types, abilities, ages, and classes in a natural and authentic manner. Robinson's flat, blocky illustrations are simple and well composed, seemingly spare but peppered with tiny, interesting details. Ultimately, their destination is a soup kitchen, and CJ is glad to be there. This is an excellent book that highlights less popular topics such as urban life, volunteerism, and thankfulness, with people of color as the main characters. A lovely title.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-10-22
A young boy yearns for what he doesn't have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live. CJ doesn't want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana's playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ's lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana's special gift to see "beautiful where he never even thought to look." Through de la Peña's brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson's exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ's journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility. This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399257742
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 1/8/2015
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 68,566
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Lexile: AD610L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Matt de la Peña (www.mattdelapena.com) is the author of several critically-acclaimed young adult novels, as well as the celebrated picture book A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis. Matt lives in Brooklyn, NY. Follow him on Twitter @mattdelapena
 
Christian Robinson (www.theartoffun.com) is the winner of the 2014 Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, as well as the 2013 Marion Vannett Ridgeway Honor. Christian lives in San Francisco, California. 

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