Wait! Wait! by Hatsue Nakawaki, illustrated by Komako Sakai, translated by Yuki Kaneko
Clearly, my kiddies grew up too quickly. Wasn’t it just yesterday when I would hear their plaintive “Waaaaaiiiittttt!” on our regular hikes in random places all over the world? One of us old folks would answer with “ketchup,” matched with an indignant “mustard” or – even more clever as they got a little older – “no relish!” Time marches on with guaranteed alacrity!
Wait! Wait! is a nostalgic gift for us old folks, and quite the exciting adventure for the young ‘uns. Artist Komoko Sakai’s whimsical panels are the perfect companion to author Hatsue Nakawaki’s invitingly simple, repetitive prose, with just the right rhythm to keep the youngest readers both engaged and entertained.
A curious toddler explores the world, imploring a butterfly to “Wait! Wait!” only to have it flutter away. “Wait! Wait!” but the salamander “wriggl[es] out of sight,” then the doves fly away, and the kitties dash off. As the excited toddler is just about to give chase once more, she hears someone else’s cry of “Wait! Wait!” as she is hoisted onto her father’s shoulders, head thrown back in delighted laughter, ready for the latest discovery from aloft.
While her too-young legs might still need some training in stability and speed, she has other reliable modes of transportation until she settles into her quickly growing feet. As she examines her world from her comfortable perch, she looks out at the wonders of the expansive world spread out before her, where other children and their parents discover, enjoy, and learn – just as she’s done and will continue to do for many years to come.
That said, parents beware … those years pass in a blink of any eye. Savor those butterflies. Follow those salamanders. Most of all, cuddle those kiddies as much as you can … too soon, we’ll be the ones imploring “Wait! Wait!” as the nest empties out. No relish indeed!
Published: 2013 (United States)