In Henkes’ latest book, the illustrator returns to one of his favorite recent themes—waiting.
Four eggs. Three crack and then hatch, and the chicks wait for the fourth, sometimes helping with a “peck-peck-peck.” When it does hatch, what a surprise! The chicks are so surprised they scatter and leave the new, crocodilian addition to their flock alone to become sad, lonely, and miserable. But in an act of burgeoning friendship, they return, line up on its back, and float off to enjoy the water and sun. As in Henkes’ Caldecott- and Geisel Honor–winning Waiting (2015), the theme is waiting, beautifully rendered in brown ink and watercolor paint. In Waiting, he used white space to great effect to give the figurines space as their attention was directed outward, to the moon, the stars, the wind. Here, pages are framed, and some are divided into four or 16 squares, which then open to full-page spreads depicting surprise, wonder, and newfound companionship. The frames and boxes complement the idea of containment in eggs, especially of the something enclosed in that fourth egg. When the four friends float off into the sunset, the sun itself morphs into an egg shape, with a hint of a new surprise in their lives.
Another stunner from Henkes, who is able to evoke so much with few words and such seemingly simple illustrations. Gorgeous and thought-provoking. (Picture book. 4-8)