Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Waiting Book Poster Image
Toys calmly take in whatever happens in Zen-like tale.

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Shows natural and seasonal changes through a home's window.

Positive Messages

Enjoy what unfolds around you. The simplest things can be quite amazing. Be open to new experiences.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All the toys are upbeat, patient, appreciate the beauty around them and understand that things are always changing.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kevin HenkesCaldecott Honor book Waiting is a gentle, almost meditative picture books that shows a friendly group of toys patiently waiting on a windowsill and enjoying whatever changes come to their environment. It's the rare book that shows characters as calm and peaceful, marveling at the sky and seasonal shifts outside and at any new arrivals or departures indoors, just going with the flow. Great for read-aloud, especially at naptime or bedtime.

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What's the story?

Five toys (a pig with an umbrella, a bear with a kite, a puppy on a sled, a rabbit with stars on its collar and a flexible accordion body, and an owl with spots) patiently wait for whatever comes next outside their window -- rain, snow, wind, lightning -- or inside their room, such as the introduction of a new toy. Whatever happens, they're cool with it: "The rabbit with stars wasn't waiting for anything in particular. He just liked to look out the window and wait." Sometimes gifts appear on the window ledge. Sometimes a new toy comes and goes. Sometimes they see spectacular events outside, such as a rainbow or fireworks. The toys take it all in stride, happy at the ever-changing spectacle and glad when a new toy cat arrives and surprisingly multiplies as a nesting doll.

Is it any good?

This gentle book works on many levels: as a calming pre-sleep read, a celebration of small and amazing events of the day, and a reminder to keep your heart and mind open to whatever comes your way. The soft pastel palette of the illustrations and soothing rhythms of the spare text work like a lullaby to help readers slow down and appreciate the wonder of every day. Deceptively simple and warmly reassuring. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about waiting. When is it frustrating, and when is it calming and comfortable? Do you ever like to wait?

  • What's fun about stories that show toys coming alive and having feelings? Can you think of other books or movies that show this?

  • Do you like to imagine that your toys are friends with one another? Which of yours seem like good friends?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books

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