A nearly wordless picture book chronicles the wait for reunion after a troop plane lands.
The first spread shows a pregnant woman, a dog and one blond boy, all evidently unrelated. The boy waits to find his soldier in the crowd, his face full of expectation. The foreground is colored in, while the background images are translucent, allowing young readers to focus on a few of the stories. First, the dog tackles its owner, a young female soldier. Soon, a male soldier kisses a waiting woman. Another tenderly regards the pregnant woman’s belly. The boy runs among the embracing families, looking for his soldier. He regards the kissing and hugging with age-appropriate disdain and continues his search. When it’s clear that most people have found one another, his face is worried, nearly tearful. A small grin turns into a celebratory “MOM!” and soon he is caught up in a welcome hug of his own. Most spreads contain just one or two words that tie the illustrations together. A lengthy, unnecessary author’s note sounds a dissonant note against the concise, carefully worded story. The dust jacket borders on maudlin, with the boy saluting a plane while standing next to the waiting dog, and confusingly implies a relationship.
Though it’s on the manipulative side, it should be helpful for children anticipating a parent’s return. (Picture book. 2-6)