cover image Waiting


Kevin Henkes. Greenwillow, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-236843-0

Waiting can make anyone feel helpless and frustrated, so the five toylike knickknacks in Henkes’s (Penny and Her Marble) story should be at their collective wits’ end. Perched on a windowsill, this odd, diminutive crew—a pig with an umbrella, a bear with a kite, a puppy attached to a sled, a rabbit on an accordion spring, and an owl—have little volition of their own (“Sometimes one or the other of them went away, but he or she always came back”). But while their lives are spent waiting, their existence seems full and rich with meaning. Waiting reinforces their sense of identity: the pig waits for the rain and when it comes, “the pig was happy. The umbrella kept her dry.” Waiting also connects them to each other: looking out the window together, “they saw many wonderful, interesting things,” like frost on the windowpane or a sky lit up with fireworks. Henkes never tells readers explicitly what he’s up to, and several incidents are wide open to interpretation—and that’s what makes this enigmatic, lovely book intriguing and inimitable. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)