Author/Illustrator: Kevin Henkes
Published: HarperCollins, 2015
I fell like we spend a lot of our time waiting. I know that when I was a kid, it was always “wait until you’re such-and-such years old and you’ll be able to do that thing you want to do.” When I was a teenager, it was waiting to drive. Then waiting to finish school. Then, when I was an adult, waiting to have a career, to move out. Then waiting to meet someone. Then waiting to get married…have kids…fulfil your destiny and achieve your dreams and…yeah. A lot of waiting, really.
I guess the most important thing is to spend all that time with people you love, doing things you enjoy, living the best life you can while you wait. Because time is going to pass – it’s inevitable. But how we use it? Up to us.
That’s what the five friends (toys on a windowsill, to be specific) in Kevin Henkes’ Waiting are doing. They’re waiting for different things. The owl, for instance, is waiting for the moon. The pig is waiting for the rain (she has an umbrella, not to worry), the bear with the kite is waiting for the wind. The puppy with the sled is waiting for the snow…and the rabbit isn’t waiting for anything, really. He just enjoys gazing out the window.
As the book progresses, we see each of the friends get the thing they were waiting for – and they’re delighted.
We then follow the friends through their days. It’s a gentle journey through seasons and weather and exciting events. They even had a visitor who stayed a little while…and then sadly had to leave and never return (he seems to have shattered on the floor).
One day, a new friend comes to join them. She’s a cat who doesn’t seem to be waiting for anything at all…except…she’s a matryoshka doll! When all of the little cats inside of her burst out, the friend group is complete. The book ends with all ten friends at the window, waiting happily together.
I love this book – I love the art in particular (so did the Caldecott Award selection committee – this one got an honour). The pictures are so simple, so sweet, so pastel-hued and relaxing. I wish I could draw 1/100th as well as Kevin Henkes, for real.
The story is more of a series of events than an actual ‘solving-a-problem’ kind of book. But it works – it all works so well together.
I wasn’t sure what Lily would think of the book. She’s a huge sucker for humour, and this one wasn’t really ‘funny,’ per say.
But…she loved it. I think the addition of the cat figure really helped to seal the deal (our Lily is a bit crazy for cats).
If you’re looking for a really calming, gentle bedtime book (and, honestly, who isn’t?), this is the story for you.
Mama’s Review: Kevin Henkes is just an honest-to-goodness genius, is all.
Lily’s Review: 5 matryoshka cats/5