See those three seals on this book cover? That’s some heavy metal. 🙂 Last Stop on Market Street won the 2016 Newbery Medal, a 2016 Caldecott honor, and a 2016 Coretta Scott King honor for illustration. Wow!
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson is a sweet, sweet picture book about a little boy, CJ, riding the city bus with his nana. Their conversation about their neighborhood and their interactions with the other bus riders are gentle and. . . sweet. It is very easy to hear Nana’s voice in the conversations, talking with CJ about their neighborhood and their bus riding friends. Their journey begins at church and ends (spoiler alert!) at a soup kitchen. CJ is curious about why they’re spending their time doing this–his friends “never have to go anywhere” and instead get to “hop curbs on bikes.” Nana’s explanation to him that she “feel[s] sorry for those boys” because “they’ll never get a chance to meet Bobo or the Sunglass Man” sums up her attitude toward life: to look for the blessings in others and never pass up an opportunity to appreciate the moment. The message is simple but profound, and the story is simple but rich, with beautiful descriptions and nuances that older children (and adults!) can appreciate. Christian Robinson’s illustrations are reminiscent to me of one of my favorite illustrators–Ezra Jack Keats. That’s high praise indeed. Although I’m always a little perplexed (due to my own lack of depth, I’m sure) about how picture books beat out novels for the Newbery, this is certainly a book to be appreciated by a wide range of ages. Highly, Highly Recommended. (Putnam’s, 2015)