The Last Stop On Market Street - Matt De La Pena (2015)

   * Newbery Winner - 2016
   * Caldecott Honor - 2016  
   Coretta Scott King Book Awards (Illustrator) - 2016

        How do you define beauty? Does it come with appearance? Not necessarily. Anything, that is soulful, even if it is dirty, is beautiful.

A ride to happiness

       CJ and his nana are coming out of the church, and boarding a bus, when it is raining. Everything in his life is not okay with CJ. Why don't they have a car? Why are they waiting for bus, in rain? How come some (blind) people are not able to see? and various other reasons.

       But nana, who always sees the positive side of the things, is spreading her positive joy to CJ and the fellow passengers of the bus (and to us). As we meet the bus driver, the blind man, the man with guitar and other passengers, they all leave a memorable trace. In Grandma's view, it's not like some (blind) people are not able to see the world, they are able to see with their ears. When Nana and CJ finally reaches the soup kitchen in the last stop on market street, CJ is happy to be there in the vibrant neighborhood.

                  "It's not like some (blind) people are not able to see the world, they are able to see with their ears"

My Comments:

         To say the truth, we didn't just read this book. We opened this book, boarded an imaginary bus and rode till the last stop on market street, along with CJ, grandma and the other passengers. When a book combines lovely illustrations and powerful narration, it can lift you to the place of happening. And, this book beholds that magic.

         The narration effectively binds all the characters and their actions, interluded with dripping rain, "fire-breathing" bus, the lulling rhythm and the graffiti-tagged neighborhood. CJ's dream over the song of the man with the guitar shows the height of the descriptive beauty and the whole book is filled with such beautiful descriptions. The nuances like the elder boys with portable music player and the woman with butterflies in jar add to the liveliness. The vibrant illustrations form the integral part of this ride, as they transcend us to the place, starting from cover to cover. (The endpapers are another amazing picture collection).

        Towards the end of the book, CJ says that he is glad to be in the neighborhood. Yes, I am also glad to read this book to my kids and make a magical journey to that place.

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  1. I have my eye on this one and have read rave reviews everywhere! I definitely want to give this to DD for a read :) Thanks for sharing on KidLitBloghop

    1. I am sure that she would enjoy a delightful read with this book. Thanks for your feedback.

  2. I loved this picture book too, Matt de la Pena's first! I wonder if it is based on his grandmother in real life?

    1. Reading the intense narration, I too believed that it is based on his real life experiences. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. (I think "A Nation's Hope : The Story Of Boxing Legend Joe Louis" is Matt De La Pena's first children's picture book.)

  3. I love this illustrator. A couple other fun books he has illustrated are Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio and The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts.

    1. The illustrations are warm and vibrant. The illustrator has done an amazing work in this book. Sure, I am going to check the books you mentioned.


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