While We Wait
While We Wait
We shake our arms and stretch them wide, get up and pace and look outside, then sit and rock and knit and rock and sit and knit and wait. We hear the clock, ticktock, ticktock, and sit and knit and wait.
In While We Wait, Judy Ann Sadler (author) and Élodie Duhameau (illustrator) have created an exquisite ode to impatience and joy. Here is a book that is touching, yet never sentimental and fresh yet never false. A crisp work of art that this reviewer highly recommends.
The cadence and poetry of Sadler’s text makes for a delicious read-aloud. The story, which features a young boy and his grandmother waiting for… something… is a verbal delight. Children will gladly empathize with the boy who sits, knits, sits, knits and then explodes saying, “I want to run around the room! I CAN’T just sit, I CAN’T just knit. I really CANNOT WAIT!” And yet, as all humans can attest, sometimes waiting is all we can do.
The restrained palette of the illustrations (orange/grey/turquoise/yellow) are perfectly suited to portraying excitement and tranquility at the same time. The modern lines and expressive characterizations draw the reader into the very pulse of knitting and waiting. There are web-like threads in the background that serve to string the pages together while buoying the characters along from vignette to vignette. Time passes visually as the yellow light grows, dims and surrounds the characters when finally, finally, the wait is over. Beautiful.
While We Wait features waiting for a (SPOILER ALERT!) new baby and is thus a perfect gift for older children waiting on a sibling’s arrival. However, because of the strong presence of knitting, it will be equally appreciated by those craft enthusiasts among us. I would wager, however, that the book’s ultimate contribution is in gifting children with a lovable character who understands the painful joy of waiting for something you just can’t wait for. In our fast and sometimes disconnected lives, this is a welcome gift.
Catherine-Laura Dunnington is a preschool teacher and doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Education.