cover image WAFFLE


Chris Raschka, WAFFLEChris Raschka

Once again, Raschka (Yo! Yes?) captures the essence of a mood with the merest hint of text and the briefest of brush strokes. Waffle, a likable fellow who resembles a vaudevillian character sporting what looks like checked plus fours and high laced boots, seems capable only of worrying. "Waffle wondered what if—/ Waffle wished that he would—/ Waffle wanted to, well—/ Waffle would if he were—" Each turn of the page reveals the fellow in another hand-wringing pose, clearly trying to work himself up for something. A visual Greek chorus of laughing, multicolored smiley faces watches his anxiety mount. They reorganize themselves into squares, heart shapes and pinwheels while Waffle turns in emotional circles. Just as the fellow's consternation peaks ("Waffle waffled. He felt awful. He was a waffler and wafflers waffle"), Raschka gives way to two spreads filled with the hero swimming in the repeated word "WAFFLE." By the end of the second spread, the letters of the word rearrange themselves into "flew." The Greek chorus, astonished, witnesses the hero as he overcomes his fear and flies. Working in acrylic and ink on a succession of ever-changing solid color backgrounds, Raschka conjures Waffle from a dash of lines and squiggles atop a broad swoop of color. Characteristic of his singularly impressionistic artistic vision, the author/artist plumbs Waffle's emotional depths until the hero comes up on top. Ages 4-7. (May)