cover image Waiting for Gregory

Waiting for Gregory

Kimberly Willis Holt, , illus. by Gabi Swiatkowska. . Holt, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-7388-1

Holt's (When Zachary Beaver Came to Town ) affectionate story of awaiting a new baby touches on the many myths associated with this joyous event. When young Iris hears that Aunt Athena is expecting a baby boy, to be called Gregory, she eagerly asks everyone, "When will Gregory be here?" Grandpa says Gregory will arrive "when the giant stork flies across the sky and drops over your aunt's house." Grandma says he'll be tucked under a cabbage in the garden. And Iris's friend Lacey says to relax until her aunt has eaten "a thousand chocolate-chip ice cream sundaes with sour pickles on top." But waiting for Gregory has its rewards: when Iris finally holds the newborn in her arms, she realizes there is a time and reason for everything. "Soon, but not too soon, though not too long at all," says Iris, echoing the adults from the earlier pages, "Gregory will be waiting for me." In her artwork, Swiatkowska (My Name Is Yoon ) elegantly muses on the elasticity of time and the mystery of gestation. She unmoors her characters from geography and gravity; they float in austere, brush-stroked spaces. Iris is a cross between Velázquez's infanta and a rococo shepherdess; her friend Lacey could have stepped right out of Renoir's Two Little Circus Girls . A stunning final close-up of Iris cuddling the baby seems to be composed of bubbles of pearly, rosy light, bringing the more abstract images back to the cozily familiar. This is one for all ages. Ages 4-7 (Apr.)