Thursday, February 26, 2015

Picture Books 14:14

The Cart That Carried Martin
The Cart That Carried Martin by Eve Bunting
Illustrated by Don Tate
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Published: 2013
ISBN-13: 9781580893879
Library Copy
Word Count:  537 (estimate)

Eve Bunting tells the story of the cart that carried the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during his funeral procession. Don Tate provides the most beautiful soft watercolor illustrations complement the tone of the story exquisitely.

With so little dialogue in this book, I'm sure one might wonder why I chose dialogue. I chose it because I felt that the dialogue that was used was used purposefully and with impact. And how interesting that no one has names in the book. Only Dr. King and the two mules that pulled the cart.

Two men walking by an antique store find the perfect cart to carry Dr. King in, but the store is closed.

               "We'll borrow it," the first man said.
               "We can't do that," the other replied.
               "We can. We'll bring it back when he's finished with it."

The men show honor in the fact that they will return the cart once "he's finished with it." Interesting words...when he is finished with it.

They take the cart away and prepare it for the funeral.

               "It's the color of grass when it rains," a woman said.
               "He would like that," a man said.

They hitch Belle and Ada to the cart to pull it.

               "Ordinary mules for an ordinary funeral," the people told 
               one and other. "That was what he wanted."

               "The mule is a symbol of freedom," someone said. "Each
               slave got a mule and forty acres when he was freed."

Not hardly an ordinary funeral...but these things made it ordinary...and symbolic.

               The cart was not heavy.
               The coffin was not heavy.
               The man inside it was not heavy.
               His great spirit had been the heaviest part of him.
               It could not be kept in a coffin.

The coffin was placed in the hearse...

               "Is it over?" someone asked.
               "It will never be over," replied another."What he stands for
               lives on."

So little, but so powerful. That is why I chose dialogue.

The book ends...

               This is the humble cart that, not so long ago, carried greatness.