cover image The Last Stand

The Last Stand

Antwan Eady, illus. by Jarrett and Jerome Pumphrey. Knopf, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-48057-1

The last farmer’s market stand in a close-knit Black community is run by the young narrator’s grandfather, Papa, who sells eggs, peppers, plums, and pumpkins to faithful customers: “Don’t worry. I’ve got ripe green peppers, just for you,” Papa tells one. Eady (Nigel and the Moon) employs the child’s keen observations (“Papa’s hair is gray and thin. His movements slow and steady”) to help readers understand that the man is aging (“Y’all coming later and later,” says Mrs. Brown, when Papa and the narrator deliver plums after the stand closes). One Saturday, Papa’s “too tired,” and the young narrator works out how to keep the stand going. A wobbly first attempt on Granny’s bike gives way to a successful second try involving a wagon; this quiet victory also signals a narrative turnabout as the community for whom Papa has long offered sustenance finds a way to provide for—and gather with—him, instead. In illustrations created with handmade stamps, the Pumphrey brothers (There Was a Party for Langston) convey a feeling of community-created abundance as the narrator reflects on family history in this intergenerational story that hints at larger sociopolitical issues. An author’s note concludes. Ages 3–7. Author’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. Illustrators’ agent: Hannah Mann, Writers House. (Jan.)