Trudee Romanek is a childrenĂs writer who lives in Barrie, Ontario.

by Amber Waiting, Nan Gregory, Illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton
32 pages,
ISBN: 0889952582

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Children's Books
by Olga Stein

Nan Gregory, author of the best-selling How Smudge Came, gives us a delightful picture book yet again. Little Amber has just started kindergarten. She enjoys classroom activities¨painting a mural, quiet reading time¨as well as outdoors ones¨riding on a swing, and playing with her friends in the snow. What she doesn't like is waiting in the office after everyone else has gone home because her father is late picking her up. One such afternoon, Amber imagines a way of teaching her dad a lesson. She will learn how to fly. She will grab her dad, fly him to the moon, and leave him stranded there for a long time while she plays, until he realizes what it's like to be left, helplessly, to wait.
Kady MacDonald Denton's illustrations marvelously depict the pleasures of the classroom, and the hustle and bustle of the hallway as the older children rush by the waiting Amber on their way home. While Amber is cavorting up high, we're shown fathers from all over the world engaged in various occupations¨a Scottish father in a kilt, an Arab father in traditional garb, an Inuit dad, a chef, a violin-playing musician, a jockey, a professor, and a farmer dad in overalls. Flying above all these fathers, Amber isn't merely passing time. She's singing, making artwork, and sending signals to the dads below to remind them not to pick up their children late. A while later, Amber pictures herself returning for her father who has been waiting on the moon and who is terribly relieved to see her. The illustration of Amber's dad stretching his arms out for Amber, the way a child does when an absent parent finally shows up, is priceless. Amber imagines her father arriving at the same time as all the other fathers¨Scottish, Muslim and Inuit¨come to whisk their children home, but in the real world Amber is still waiting, hunched on the floor. Again, Denton's illustration speak volumes. The child's feelings, her sense of forlornness is clearly conveyed and easy to empathize with. Finally, Amber's dad arrives, unaware of how upset she is. So she asks him whether he has ever been on the moon "waiting for someone. Scared and lonely." He pauses, grasps what Amber is getting at, then lifts his little girl onto his shoulders and carries her home just the way she'd imagined the other dads had carried their children. You should see the expression on Amber's face.

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