Artistic City: Jamaica Louise James

Jamaica Louise JamesIf you have ever ridden the NYC Subway you know that some of the stations have some fantastic artwork. I'm a bit sad that my local station is on the boring side. It would be so great to get on the train everyday if the platform looked like this.

In Amy Hest's Jamaica Louise James, the title character also takes the train from a boring platform. In fact her Grammy is the ticket agent. While Jamaica Lousie James (can I call her JLJ for short?) does like the hot pink subway seats, she decries the grouchy grownups and the boring tiled walls. JLJ takes matters into her own hands and creates artwork for the station as a surprise for her Grammy. It perks up both the boring tiles and sullen commuter faces.

There are nice little references to the city scattered throughout the text. For example, JLJ sits "on the top step of our building, where everyone can see her," and she cuddles with her family at night, while "the city quiets down." Many of Sheila White Samton's color-saturated illustrations are interiors (home and subway), but there are a few nice simultaneous views of above and below ground. I especially like one nighttime illustration of JLJ high in her apartment building watching her Grammy descend the subway stairs.

Would that we could all have train stations as cheerful as Jamaica Louise James'.

Want more?
See some of the great platform art of NYC's MTA
Visit the author's website.

Big Kid says: Hey! We have this book in our art classroom!


Raising a Happy Child said...

I wonder if JLJ could be potentially arrested as a graffiti artist. Interestingly, we read some books by Amy Hest, but I've never heard of this one.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Ah, you always find some of the most interesting looking books.

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