Many of us are prone to seeing our world through grey-tinted spectacles. I know that I have a tendency to do this. I see only the problems and deficiencies in my life and not the many gifts and wonders around me. In today's picture book you will meet a little boy who is feeling thoroughly discontented with his life. He has a terrible case of the my-life-sucks grumps. Thankfully, his grandmother has quite a different attitude. She shows him that hope and wonderful things are everywhere, if you just know how to see them.
Last Stop on Market Street
Matt de la Pena
Illustrator: Christian Robinson
For ages 5 and up
Penguin, 2015 ISBN: 978-0399257742
Every Sunday, after church, CJ and his nana get on a bus and travel across town to Market Street. One Sunday CJ comes out of the church building and it is raining. He does not feel like going across town in the bus today. He resents the rain, he resents the fact that he and Nana cannot travel in a car, he resents the fact that they have to go to the same place after church every Sunday. In short, CJ is not happy with much of anything at the moment.
One would think that Nana would get annoyed by all of CJ’s complaining questions, but she doesn’t because that is not what Nana is like. Instead, she finds something good to appreciate in everything that CJ finds annoying. What would happen to the trees if they did not have rain to water them? If they had a car they would not get to meet Mr. Dennis the bus driver every Sunday, nor would they see the interesting characters on the bus. If they did not go to the same place every Sunday they would get to spend time with “Bobo or the Sunglass Man.”
Then a musician starts to play on the bus and CJ begins to experience the joy that Nana understands so well. He begins to understand that sometimes you need to look at what you do have instead of what you don’t.
This remarkable, award-winning title explores a simple idea through the eyes of a young child. Alongside CJ, on that battered bus, and in the dirty streets, we come to understand that there is beauty everywhere if you know how to look for it.