Back of the Bus

Aaron Reynolds, Author, Floyd Cooper, Illustrator , illus. by Floyd Cooper. Philomel $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-25091-0

This sterling collaboration views Rosa Parks's 1955 refusal to give up her bus seat through the eyes of a perceptive boy seated with his mother in the rear of the bus. Early on, the child rolls a treasured marble up the aisle and Parks good-naturedly shoots it back to him. He tucks the marble safely away when the bus fills with passengers and he senses trouble up front: “Some folks look back, givin' us angry eyes. 'We do somethin' wrong, Mama?' I say all soft.” Reynolds's (Superhero School ) lyrical yet forceful text conveys the narrator's apprehension and Parks's calm resolve, which inspires the boy. “[S]he's sittin' right there, her eyes all fierce like a lightnin' storm, like maybe she does belong up there. And I start thinkin' maybe she does too.” Cooper's (Willie and the All-Stars ) filmy oil paintings are characterized by a fine mistlike texture, which results in warm, lifelike portraits that convincingly evoke the era, the intense emotional pitch of this incident, and the everyday heroism it embodied. Ages 6–8. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/07/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Glued - 32 pages - 978-1-62765-943-7
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-14-751058-7
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