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Waiting Hardcover – September 1, 2015
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From School Library Journal
PreS-K—Five toys sit on a windowsill, each waiting for something. There's an owl with spots waiting for the moon, a pig with the umbrella waiting for the rain, a bear with a kite waiting for the wind, and a puppy on a sled waiting for the snow. And then there's a "rabbit with stars," content to simply look out the window. With an economy of words and gently repeating patterns, the text informs readers about the emotional ups and downs of this tiny band of friends: what makes them happy (getting what they've waited for), what makes them sad (when one of them goes away), and what surprises them (gifts, visitors, new friends.) Along with happiness and friendship, there are small moments of grief, anxiety, and existential wonder—all thoughtfully and authentically depicted with childlike honesty and optimism. On thick, creamy pages, Henkes uses brown ink with touches of watercolor and colored pencil in muted shades of pink, green, and blue to depict the softly rounded figures, shown small before the expanse of the four-paned window. Henkes varies the compositions with vignettes and a four-page wordless sequence showing the beautiful (a rainbow, fireworks) and sometimes scary (lightning) sights that the toys observe from the vantage point of their windowsill. The careful placement of the text and images establishes a leisurely pace, encouraging readers and listeners to slow down, examine the pictures, and discuss. Are these sentient little beings or are they moved and posed by an unseen child? Henkes leaves it up to readers to determine. VERDICT Waiting further cements Henkes's place alongside picture book legends like Margaret Wise Brown, Crockett Johnson, and Ruth Krauss, through his lyrical text, uncluttered yet wondrously expressive illustrations, and utmost respect for the emotional life of young children.—Kiera Parrott, School Library Journal
“Waiting further cements Henkes’s place alongside picture book legends like Margaret Wise Brown, Crockett Johnson, and Ruth Krauss, through his lyrical text, uncluttered yet wondrously expressive illustrations, and utmost respect for the emotional life of young children.” (School Library Journal (starred review))
“The story is all about quietly filling in the gaps...the protagonists’ contentment with just waiting is contagious. Waiting as a joyful activity in itself is almost never celebrated; this Zen-like meditation might win some converts.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Henkes provides no deep meanings and sends no messages; he’s just showing what waiting can be like. Perhaps listeners will find a model for making long waits seem less tiresome: be still and notice the world around you.” (Horn Book (starred review))
“Enigmatic, lovely . . . intriguing and inimitable.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“Quiet yet evocative, this is a lovely melding of artwork, design, and text... Little ones, to whom each experience is new, will know what it’s like to dream and wait.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Kevin Henkes, who both illustrates and writes with a gentle and elegant style, creates an appealing cast of toys to get at the concept of waiting-a tough one to convey to a child. …Calming in a way that emphasizes the theme of patience.” (New York Times Book Review, Editor’s Choice)
“In his illustrations, Mr. Henkes uses soft nursery shades of pink, greenish-blue and chocolate brown on a creamy background to convey a feeling of such safety and contentment as to beguile even the most irritable adult tooth-gnasher.” (Wall Street Journal)
“With economy, humor and warmth, Waiting quietly bridges reality and imagination, indoors and out, constancy and change, now and what comes next.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
“Kevin Henkes is the stealthiest master of kids’ lit around.” (Boston Globe)
“Waiting is a microcosm: five sentient toys on a windowsill. The picture book is visual elegant and nostalgic…The design, illustrations, and text of Waiting are exquisitely choreographed, each decision made with great care. …They are waiting, just waiting. And something’s bound to happen.” (Shelf Awareness)
“Henkes…understands the frustration young children feel in having to be patient. The gentle pacing of the story and generously spacious, light-filled illustrations convey a sense of calm anticipation. There’s plenty of room here for a parent and child to talk about the wonders that the window offers.” (Washington Post)
“The soft tones and clean compositions of the attractive pictures…complement the simple text…Use this to bring a little peace and tranquility to a busy day or to an active storytime audience.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
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