cover image Winter Waits

Winter Waits

Lynn Plourde. Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-83268-0

Plourde and Couch pick up where they left off with the autumnal Wild Child, this time featuring a boy who personifies winter. The fantasy is more complex and abstract than the previous title and may well puzzle more than challenge or entertain youngest readers. When small Winter in his Wee Willie Winkle hat wants his father's attention, Father Time answers, ""Just a minute, big guy./ My work's not done."" His father ignores him until Winter presents him with a spectacular snowflake, at which point Father Time, with a ""tear in his eye,"" agrees to play. As he gives Winter a goodnight kiss, he acknowledges the lesson he's learned about making time for his son. Couch's frosty paintings are both dazzling and inventive. Wheels and clock parts surround Father Time's cubist moon face; stars and planets encircle his head like a halo. But the arresting images and sophisticated artwork may be as confusing to youngsters as the text. Unfortunately, Plourde's problematic story seems to suggest that the only surefire way a child can get his father's attention is to impress him. Despite the use of playful nonsense words that fill out the rhythm (father and son ""wristle and wrestle"" and they ""rizzle and romp""), the book's message seems addressed more to workaholic fathers than to children. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)