Last Stop on Market Street


Why does Colby have a car, yet CJ and his grandma must take the bus from church on Sunday? Then again, why do Colby and Miguel go home from church, while CJ and his grandma are travelling on to another engagement? Then aboard, the bus, why is it another passenger cannot see? Why is it that CJ doesn’t have AirPods to listen to music?

It seems that CJ is looking about him, comparing his Sunday with others he knows and encounters. However, at each observation, it’s obvious that Grandma has an answer, a joy in the world about her that she wants her grandson to know.

Thereafter, when he considers his lack of music upon their journey, Grandma ‘closes her eyes‘ to listen to the ‘guitar player- plucking strings and beginning to sing‘. It seems that in that moment ‘in the darkness the rhythm lift[s] CJ out of the bus and out of the busy city’. 

We feel the bus’s movement and can hear the music, conversation and footfall. What’s more we can smell the rain and the building day. Together, Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson, have created an exceptional picture book. Not only does it share the loving bond and knowledge between a grandmother and grandson, but it offers a journey, the chance to listen, watch and know. Last Stop on Market Street is an outstanding picture book that Bookwagon recommends to every reader.

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Last Stop on Market Street

Words by Matt de la Peña, pictures by Christian Robinson

(Penguin Random House)

While ‘the outside air smelled of freedom, it also smelled of rain‘. It’s after church, and CJ and his grandma are beginning their journey to the Last Stop on Market Street.
While CJ complains about the rain, his grandmother reminds him that trees have to drink too. In fact every living thing feels thirst. Moreover, he wonders why he and his grandmother don’t have a car, like his friend, Colby. His grandma reminds him, ‘Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire, and old Mr Dennis, who always has a trick for you’. What’s more, it seems this time Mr Dennis removes a coin from CJ’s ear! However, CJ continues to wonder…. why do he and his grandmother have to go on from church. However, the bus is filling up with people, from somebody who cannot see, to passengers listening to music on their headphones. Then again, at each of CJ’s comparisons, Grandma directs his gaze or reminds him of the wonder all about him.
Last Stop on Market Street is an award-winning masterpiece. It seems that Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson capture the sounds, movement, smells and feelings that abound on this Sunday journey. Bookwagon adores this book. We recommend it for sharing, knowing well, keeping and loving. This is a splendid picture book, like its successor, Milo Imagines the Worlddeserving of its acclaim and attention.


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