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Monday, August 3, 2015

Wait, written and illustrated by Antoinette Portis. A Neal Porter Book, Roaring Brook Press, Macmillan. Raincoast. 2015. $19.50 ages 3 and up






If you have young children, or can remember when your grown children were young, you will know just how this mom and her little boy feel. They are on their way to catch the morning train. Mom is frantic to make it on time. Her son, having no concept of time as it passes, wants to check out all that interests him along the way. It is a tug-of-war.

With each hurry! she pulls him along. With each Wait. he wants to stop and satisfy his curiosity concerning the action on the city streets as they pass by. There is so much to discover! That is so true for the young boy as they make their way to his mother's destination. It is also true for those of us who are sharing this lovely, thoughtful story. On the title page, a close look and you will see what first attracts his attention - surprise! - it isn't the letter 't'. Look more closely.

Mom is checking her watch, the boy is wanting to stop for a visit with a dog being walked on this early morning. Mom, phone in hand, tugs him along, only to make it as far as a construction site before his attention is captured once again. Even a stop to capture raindrops on his tongue is of great importance, while Mom frantically tries to cover him up with a rain slicker.

Read it slowly, and then read it again. Antoinette Portis, as she has done in previous books, uses pencil, charcoal and ink to create her brilliant images. They are digitally colored and boast thick black outlines to ensure attention to the world in action.

Then a surprise - and the rush lessens. Together, they stop to savor the rainbow that follows the rain.

"Yes. Wait."

The young have much to teach us, don't they?

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