By Elizabeth Wroten
Picture Book Review: Wait by Antoinette Portis
On 27, Apr 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten
From Goodreads: As a boy and his mother move quickly through the city, they’re drawn to different things. The boy sees a dog, a butterfly, and a hungry duck while his mother rushes them toward the departing train. It’s push and pull, but in the end, they both find something to stop for.
Well I feel judged after reading that. I actually have really liked all the Antoinette Portis’ books I have read. Not A Box is one of my all time favorites because it embodies the makerspace spirit and idea and children love it, even the older ones.
Portis’s illustrations are always charming and the thick black lines and use of white space really give it a child-like feel that I think appeals to kids. Portis also really captures what a child would want to stop and look at in the story too and draws your attention to these things even before the mother notices them, giving the reader the little boy’s perspective. The few repeated words on the pages with engaging pictures make this a good one for pre-readers. They can skip the words all together or quickly memorize the three or four words used. This also makes the book less suited to school libraries (unless you have very young audiences), but perfect for public libraries.
But as a parent I kind of take issue with the book. Sure, it’s a creative and beautiful book with a wonderful message, but I also feel like I don’t need something else adding to my mommy guilt. We all know we need to slow down and I do think the book reminds us that there is a time and a place to do that, but it can feel pretty judgemental to parents. All told I like the book as it encourages us to slow down, but if you have any kind of parental guilt, it’s going to strike a bit close to home.