Wait

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
Wait Book Poster Image
A gem of a book about noticing small, everyday wonders.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows what a young child might see on a walk home. Implicit information in the art about how to approach a strange dog: Hold your fingers out for them to sniff.

Positive Messages

The world is a wondrous place, and it's important to stop and take notice. Curious kids are learning. Busy parents can be reminded to slow down and proceed at a young kid's pace. There's much to learn from and notice on a simple walk.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The boy is interested in and curious about everything he sees. The mom ultimately remembers to stop and notice what's wondrous about the world too.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Antoinette Portis' Wait is a lovely reminder to stop and smell the roses -- or pet the dog, or wave to the cement mixer, or catch a raindrop on your tongue. As a mom and young boy hurry to their train, the mom pulls the boy along and away from every distraction, but the tug of the world is stronger than the tug on his arm. Told with very few words -- mainly "Hurry" and "Wait" -- parents and kids will recognize themselves and their preoccupations and be reminded to stop and enjoy not only the world but also each other. 

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What's the story?

WAIT contrasts a preschool boy's interest in all he passes with a mom's need to hurry to their destination. The mom pulls the boy along as he stops to look and wonder at everything they walk by: a dog, a cement mixer, ducks. "Hurry," says the mom. "Wait," says the boy. The mom is not unloving; she's just busy, glancing at her watch and cell phone, racing the rain and the train schedule while the boy stops to marvel at colorful fish and a butterfly. But when a double rainbow appears by their train, they both stop to enjoy it. "Yes, wait," agrees the mom.

Is it any good?

In this perfect gem of a book celebrating the world's small wonders, a preschool boy stops to marvel at all he passes while his mom hurries him along to catch their train. Told mostly with two words, "Hurry" and "Wait," we see the world through the boy's curious eyes, as the mom rushes past dogs, ducks, butterflies, and raindrops, until they're finally both stopped by the beauty of a double rainbow. "Yes, wait," agrees the mom. There's as much to notice in the art as there is in the young boy's walk, and visual themes are threaded through; the promise of the rainbow is hinted at when the boy points to a rainbow ice pop.

This is a book for parents and kids to share and treasure, a reminder to stop and enjoy not only the world but the young children in our care. The author's dedication reads: "For my mom, who waited."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what the boy sees on his walk. What does he stop to look at? What do you notice in your own neighborhood when you take walks?

  • Look closely at the art. Can you find hints of things you see on the next pages?

  • Do you think adults are always hurrying? Why? What do they notice and pay attention to?

Book details

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