Wait! Wait!

Hatsue Nakawaki, trans. from the Japanese by Yuki Kaneko, illus. by Komako Sakai. Enchanted Lion (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 (24p) ISBN 978-1-59270-138-4
Nakawaki and Sakai trace a small child’s attempts to explore—and keep up with—the surrounding world in a picture book first published in Japan in 2002. Dressed in white overalls, a striped shirt, and chunky shoes, the toddler (who could easily be a boy or a girl) is the star of every spread. Sakai sketches the child and the outdoors in crayony black lines against white backgrounds, giving just a light sense of setting. Conversely, the animals that catch the child’s eye—a yellow butterfly flying past, a muddy lizard perched on a slab of concrete, a cluster of blue-gray pigeons—appear in fine, naturalistic detail, and the toddler’s awed, open-mouthed facial reactions are drawn with similar care. “Wait! Wait!” is the refrain as the animals dash out of reach. Though they prove too quick for this emerging walker, the child gets scooped up in the final pages, receiving yet another view of the world from atop Dad’s shoulders. A lovely and intimate study of a child’s growing sense of independence, capability, and curiosity. Up to age 3. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
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