Stewart, from This Monster Needs a Haircut (2012), is going camping for the first time, and he (literally) cannot wait.
The camping trip is five whole days away. That is agony for such an impulsive and excitable monster. (Even on the title page, he’s already urging readers to “Just read the book already!”) In the hopes of speeding things up, Stewart paints the clocks, changes the calendar and even builds a time machine—but nothing works. Then Stewart realizes that if he could just make the end of the story come faster, camping would come faster too! Crumbling the fourth wall for readers, he reaches down to tug at the corners of the pages, while eagerly ripping another completely in half. Fortunately, Stewart’s parents are not amused and make him tape the book back together. Toothy and unkempt, with wild eyes and a temper tantrum of a roar—“I wanna go camping NOW!”—Stewart fully embodies a preschooler who has not yet mastered the art of waiting. Barton’s sprawling, hand-lettered text and its buoyant placement match the urgency of Stewart’s desperation. Patience is certainly a virtue, and one that is difficult to learn.
For youngsters working on self-control (a school-readiness skill), Stewart does…eventually…learn that good things come to those who wait. (Picture book. 3-5)