cover image AMBER WAITING


Nan Gregory, , illus. by Kady MacDonald Denton. . Red Deer, $17.95 (30pp) ISBN 978-0-88995-258-4

In brief, breezy sentences, Gregory (How Smudge Came) relays the "good things" about Amber's kindergarten day ("Painting. The brushes are fat. The colours are bright"). Yet there is one "bad thing," too: "Waiting for Dad." Denton's (Would They Love a Lion?) pleasingly streamlined watercolors reveal the initially patient—and increasingly grumpy—girl well past dismissal time as a clock overhead ticks away. Amber uses the time "to plan": "One day she'll figure out how to fly, and when she does, she'll pick up her dad and fly him away to the moon. She'll tell him, 'I'll be back in no time.' " As Gregory spins out the girl's elaborate fantasy about teaching her dad a lesson, Denton differentiates these musings by shifting to a mixed-media approach, and depicts the sequence in watercolor collages embellished with crayon and ink. Back at school, Amber's reunion with her one-hour-late parent doesn't bring the expected exchange (she doesn't scold; he doesn't apologize, but says "Whoops" and "smiles his famous smile"). Amber communicates her feelings indirectly ("Dad... were you ever on the moon?... Waiting for someone. Scared and lonely"), and her dad, finally, gets the point. Words and pictures do an equally fine job delivering this winning message in ways that both children and parents will understand—easily. Ages 3-6. (Apr.)