cover image I Can’t Wait!

I Can’t Wait!

Amy Schwartz. S&S/Beach Lane, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-8231-9

William is patiently waiting for his father to come home from work. Annie is anxiously waiting to see if there’s irreparable rift in her friendship with Eddie. And Thomas is excitedly waiting for his parents to return from the hospital with a new sibling. Schwartz (100 Things That Make Me Happy) breaks her story down into three mini-chapters, each with short, varied, and well-observed narrative arcs; readers know right away who Thomas is waiting for (he spends his chapter coming up with potential names for his presumed new sister), while the reason behind Annie’s psychological state is revealed gradually, and William’s waiting is treated as a surprise ending (although readers will probably guess who he’s waiting for). Everyone gets a happy ending, and all of the children gather for a meet-up in the park, where they “played together until it was time to go home.” With her simple, direct text and doll-like illustrations, Schwartz is so effective at mirroring the children’s feelings of anticipation, expectation, and dread that the familiar lesson of “waiting has its rewards” feels fresh and reassuring. Ages 5–8. Agent: Jane Feder. (Oct.)