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WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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WHAT THE ROAD SAID

Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 7, 2021

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THE SQUISH

Buckets of sandy uplift.

The beach is a rough place for a sand castle, what with all the feet, Frisbees, and other hazards around.

Created by two children—one brown-skinned, one tan-skinned—a small, bucket-shaped castle with googly eyes and a hopeful smile (“Hello, world! Here I am!”) faces a string of disasters, from a stomping foot to a shower of rain. Dampened but undaunted, the sandy jumble rises up into even higher and more elaborate structures…only to be knocked down again and again. Then a nearby castle that was constructed in the background by two brown-skinned children, only to suffer a “squish” of its own thanks to a passing wave, prompts a proposal: “Let’s pick ourselves up, / dust ourselves off, / and weather everything life throws at us… / TOGETHER!” If the generalized monologue seems addressed more to younger adults than children, and superfluous anyway given that few if any readers will have trouble recognizing that both the setting and squishing are intended to be metaphorical, the text does add further lift to the visual buoyancy of the low-angled collage beachscapes, created from paper grocery bags, construction paper, and a little sand. The closing “Hello, world! Here we are!” makes a fitting caption to the final view of a magnificent, double-towered construct festooned with banners and waving crabs…and, it seems, only seconds away from one more crashing, but never crushing, squish.

Buckets of sandy uplift. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 21, 2024

ISBN: 9780063334939

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2024

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