Thursday, September 13, 2018

Review - Last Stop on Market Street

Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Peña
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Date: 2015
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

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.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Nope. This was a definite miss for me. I can't believe it won the Newbery!

I have a feeling that much of this book's premise and intent would go right over kids' heads. Especially when it starts waxing poetic about sunsets and colours and the kid having some sort of eargasm from listening to music on the bus. He's little enough to have to hold his grandmother's hand; the sophistication of his reaction to music probably extends to, "I liked it."

I also couldn't stand Nana. She's basically a virtue-signalling harpy. When the kid asks why a blind man can't see, she gives him some airy-fairy answer about how he sees with his other senses (when the kid probably just wanted to know why his eyes didn't work the way his did). When the kid says he wishes he had an iPod like the other boys on the bus, Nana tells him to impose on the guy holding a guitar. How does she know the guy is okay playing in front of strangers? Maybe he's just trying to get from Point A to Point B without being harassed by an old woman with a sense of entitlement. Sure, in this case, the guy starts playing voluntarily... but then Nana gives the kid a look and he feels he has to give away the coin the bus driver gave him. I bet Nana's the sort of person who'll throw him a birthday party and then make him donate all his presents to charity.

Maybe I'm too cynical for this. Or maybe I just don't like books that try way too hard to look like they're promoting virtuous behaviour.

Oh, and the illustrations are also terrible. So, there's that.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 1/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 0/5

Overall: 1.17 out of 5

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