Saturday, March 19, 2016

Review: Waiting (Assignment 1, 0 - 6 years)

Henkes, Kevin. (2015). Waiting. New York, USA: HarperCollins Children's Books.
There are a lot of children's stories about toys, most famously A.A. Milne's Winnie the Pooh and Pixar's Toy Story trilogy. Kevin Henkes's Waiting follows in their footsteps, a picture book that depicts the daily existence of five toys upon a windowsill.
There is a pig, an owl, a dog, a bear and a rabbit, each one waiting for something in particular. But what? For the owl it is the moon, for the dog it's the snow, and so on.
Henkes portrays a tiny world that contains only the toys and the windowsill they live on. The contrast between the smallness of the sill and the vastness of the sky beyond the glass is a lovely representation of a child's limited worldview – and in fact there are a few hints of an unseen child nearby. Sometimes a toy is taken away, only to be returned later, and sometimes other bits-and-pieces (like shells or stones) appear on the sill.
The prose is very simple, as are Henkes's illustrations; all rounded edges and soft colours. Some pages have no text at all but are full-page spreads of the toys watching thunder or fireworks from their vantage point.
Altogether the book manages to be rich and thought-provoking despite its unlikely subject matter: waiting.

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