Review: Last Stop on Market Street

Last Stop on Market StreetLast Stop on Market Street

Written by Matt De La Peña

Illustrated by: Christian Robinson

JP Putnam Sons for Young Readers; 2015, Hardcover

Target Audience: Ages 5-9

Genre: Fiction

Theme: Urban Living, Perspective, Gratitude

How We Discovered This BookLast Stop on Market Street won the 2016 Newbery Medal, and was a Caldecott Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book. With all the talk about this book, we had to check it out.

Summary: Young CJ and his Nana take the bus from church across their city. CJ has many questions, and his Nana provides him with insightful and creative answers. Their conversation continues until they reach their final destination, which provides even more context for their blessings.

What I Liked: I haven’t read many books like this – focused truly on urban living and seeing the beauty in everything around you. The author captures CJ and his Nana’s personalities clearly through carefully chosen dialogue and specific speech patterns. I can almost hear their voices.

What Did My Kids Think? They liked the story, and the author manages to make CJ endearing rather than whiny. My children have never lived in a city, so it was interesting for them to imagine someone else’s life where they don’t own a car and they interact with a wide cross-section of people.

Resources:

 

Take a field trip into your nearest city. Make it a point (or even a scavenger hunt) to find all the things that are different from where you live. Now look for the things that are the same.

The Classroom Bookshelf site has activities related to this book for kids of varying age groups, focused on imagery, special people in your life, beauty, and sharing stories.

Identify ways that you can interact more deeply with your community. Join a book group, volunteer at a soup kitchen, or even just strike up a conversation with someone at the park.

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Review: Lizard from the Park/ Max’s Review

Lizard from the Park Lizard from the Park

Written and Illustrated by: Mark Pett

Simon and Shuster Books for Young Readers, 2015, Hardcover

Target Audience: Ages 3-8

Genre: Fiction

Theme: Imagination, Friendship

How We Discovered This Book: This is another great find from the new books bin at our library. My daughter was immediately interested based on the cover art.

Summary: Leonard takes a shortcut through the park and finds a dinosaur egg. It hatches, and together they go to many places across the city. But then the dinosaur gets too big for Leonard’s apartment.

What I Liked: The illustrations are rendered in charcoal and then colored on the computer. They are simple but expressive, which gives the look a Calvin and Hobbes-type vibe. The story is fanciful, but not ridiculous – the right words along with regular expressions on the boy’s face make you believe it could really be happening. By the end you believe it has all happened. Or has it?

What Did My Kids Think? They liked going along with Leonard’s imagination, and that the story takes an unexpected turn at the end. They liked the cute illustrations, and the fact that the dinosaur stays cute even as he gets bigger and bigger. Both enjoyed reading this book over and over.

Resources:

Make a paper dinosaur and take him/her places. Take pictures to chronicle your adventures.

Do you go the same way to school, the park, or other favorite place? Try a different route next time, and see what you might discover.

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Hello from Max! Max enjoyed this book too – see what he has to say.

Email subscribers: Please click over to this post on the website to see Max’s complete video.