Back of the Bus

32p. 978-0-39925-091-0.
Gr 2-4 Cooper's illustrations are the strongest aspect of this book, a fictional accounting of Parks's famous refusal to give up her seat, as told from the viewpoint of a little boy on the bus. Reynolds writes in free verse that is a tad overdone with Southern dialect, and the colloquialisms ("crammed like lima beans" and "sittin']like a turnip pile") are a stretch. Cooper's work, however, is powerful for its subtlety; he has incorporated the likenesses of a couple of high-profile civil rights activists in the crowd of passengers on the bus, symbolizing the continuum of mighty figures that began with the petite woman. One of the most powerful images is that of Parks by herself; Cooper has captured her resoluteness simply in the proud jut of her chin. Problematic styling aside, Reynolds does a satisfactory job of capturing a turning point in our nation's history from an anonymous but vital perspective. Coupled with Cooper's rich paintings, this is a noteworthy reflection on the actions of a single individual in turning the tide of segregation."Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR" Copyright 2010 Media Source Inc.
An African American boy and his mother are on the same bus as Rosa Parks when she refuses to relinquish her seat. The story, told from the boy's perspective, shows that although he doesn't understand everything that's going on, he may have a glimmer of understanding and a dream of the future. Reynolds's poetic narrative and Cooper's warm and expressive oil illustrations sustain the premise.

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