Antoinette Portis’s brilliantly observed and succinct (only three different words are used throughout) picture book, Wait, sweeps us along on a mother and son’s commute, as they make their way to the train station from home on foot.
As expected, the mom is in a rush and looking at her watch/phone or straight ahead as she pulls along her young son: “Hurry!” The curious little boy, on the other hand, is busy noticing, waving at or reaching out for what, to him, are worthwhile things to slow down for: “Wait.”
The details in the illustrations cleverly point the way forward, with little hints here and there about where the protagonists are headed and what they are about to see, which helps the reader to keep pace with them on their journey.
It’s natural for children and adults to have different priorities — especially since a large part of being a grown-up means taking care of the day-to-day responsibilities. But, as this sweet and heartwarming picture book shows, one of the great things about having, or simply being around, kids, is that they teach/force us to slow down every once in a while, and remind us how we, too, used to gaze at the world through wonder-filled eyes.