Tag Archives: Waiting

PPBF – Waiting for High Tide

A few short weeks ago, my husband and I enjoyed a mini-getaway to the Connecticut shore, our first visit to that part of the state. Strolling along the beach, we watched young families with toddlers, beach chairs, shovels and buckets, tiny crabs and shore birds stake out their claims to favourite sandy spots.

Today, with a heat advisory in effect in the New York metropolitan region for the entire weekend, I think back longingly to that getaway. Thankfully, there are books like the Perfect Picture Book I’m highlighting today to remind me of a beach day, even if I’m nowhere near the shore.

9781419716560_p0_v1_s192x300Title: Waiting for High Tide

Written & Illustrated By: Nikki McClure

Publisher/date: Abrams Books for Young Readers/2016

Suitable for Ages: 5-7 & older

Themes/Topics: seashore, beachcombing, raft-building, tides, waiting

Opening: “WAITING FOR HIGH TIDE. I close my eyes and open them. Close and open. Still low tide. I squint and wait.”

Brief Synopsis: A boy describes a family day at the shore, building a raft together, waiting for high tide to launch it, and observing the life of the beach.

Links to Resources:

  • Stroll along the shore and describe what you see;
  • Collect beach treasures (but please don’t disturb living animals and plants!);
  • Build a raft

Why I Like this Book:

Waiting for High Tide is like a journey to another place and era. It captures a moment in time for a multigenerational family that works together on a very hands-on, fairly low-tech project, all while savouring their time together at the shore. With every page turn, I expect Huck Finn or Thor Heyerdahl to appear, or perhaps a pirate, something clearly on the mind of the young narrator who dons glasses with one eye covered by a “patch” of barnacles. Like the seaside creatures that surround them, the family work, eat, play and revel in the return of high tide.

A Note about Craft:

Waiting for High Tide is a book that reminds me very much of those available during my childhood (trust me, a long time ago) with its limited color palette of black cut-paper illustrations with blue for the water and a few pops of pink. Its non-glossy cover could have popped straight from the early 1960s, or, as Kirkus Reviews noted in a starred review, “the artwork evokes the feel of classic 1940s and ‘50s picture books”.

Told in first person by the child narrator, the text is more stream of consciousness than what one normally finds in a picture book, especially the 500-words-or-less picture books that currently are the norm, and it’s much, much longer, too. At one point, the narrator even lists what he finds:


One fine long pole

Four clamshells

Miscellaneous crab parts…

That a major house published Waiting for High Tide and that it garnered starred reviews gives hope to those who write longer texts and those wishing to read longer texts with their children. For an interesting discussion about picture book word count, see an article posted earlier this week on Picture Book Den by Natascha Biebow, author, editor and mentor.


PPBF: When Spring Comes

imageAnyone living in the Midwest or the Northeastern United States should understand the reason I chose this perfect picture book for today. If there’s any doubt, a very recent picture of some very sad pansies (before a snow blanket covered them) will show you why!

51So8yP1rNL._SX411_BO1,204,203,200_Title: When Spring Comes

Written By: Kevin Henkes

Illustrated By: Laura Dronzek

Publisher/date: Greenwillow Books, February 9, 2016

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes/Topics: Seasons, spring, weather, nature, waiting

Opening: “Before Spring comes, the trees look like black sticks against the sky. But if you wait, Spring will bring leaves and blossoms.”

Brief Synopsis: In lyrical language accompanied by vibrant illustrations, this book describes the change from winter to spring.

Links to Resources: As the seasons change,

  • draw what you see outside a window. What color is the grass? Are there leaves on the tree? Do you see flowers? What colors are they?
  • Take a walk and look for signs of spring.
  • Prepare for spring by planting seeds indoors (or outdoors if the snow has melted and the ground isn’t frozen). Tomatoes, cucumbers and marigolds are happy to start indoors and get transplanted outdoors. Sunflowers, beets and onions like to start and finish in one place.
  • There are so many springtime crafts! Try a thumbprint hyacinth or a birds’ nest collage

Why I Like this Book: This quiet concept book captures not only the sights, sounds, smells and feel of Spring, but the sense of anticipation for the earth’s rebirth. With a refrain of “If you wait” repeated throughout the book, the reader and listener are drawn into the change of seasons. The bright and simple illustrations complement the lyrical text and focus on aspects of spring that will delight children. The publisher recommends When Spring Comes for ages 4-8; I think younger children will enjoy it, too.

This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!