Waiting for Goliath

Antje Damm, trans. from the German by Sally-Ann Spencer. Gecko (Lerner, dist.), $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-77657-141-3
Bear sits on a bus station bench, devotedly waiting for his best friend, Goliath. The seasons pass, and a nearby robin peppers him with questions and comments (“Your Goliath isn’t coming,” the bird tells him flatly), but Bear doesn’t lose heart. German author-illustrator Damm (Ask Me) nods toward Waiting for Godot with her title and setup, but Bear’s steadfastness is rewarded when Goliath indeed shows up—and with a simple but solid reason for the delay. “I came as fast as I could,” Goliath explains (Goliath, spoiler alert, is a snail). “Never mind,” Bear replies. “You’re here now.” Bear’s loyalty to and confidence in Goliath are rewarding in themselves, but it’s Damm’s carefully constructed and photographed dioramas that make the book such a charmer. The various animal characters are drawn and colored in loose lines (Bear has big, beseeching eyes and scruffy brown fur), then cut out and positioned in each scene; the bench is made from corrugated cardboard, and the foliage on a spindly tree changes with the seasons. An elegantly understated portrait of patience and faith. Ages 3–5. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Children's
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