Waiting for Gregory

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Overview

The first picture book from National Book Award winner Kimberly Willis Holt

When exactly is cousin Gregory going to be born? asks little Iris. Each family member has a different answer to her question. While she's waiting for what seems like forever, Iris thinks about all the exciting things she and her new cousin will someday do together. And given Iris' vibrant imagination, there's no telling what to expect. National Book Award winner Kimberly Willis Holt offers a unique take ...

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Overview

The first picture book from National Book Award winner Kimberly Willis Holt

When exactly is cousin Gregory going to be born? asks little Iris. Each family member has a different answer to her question. While she's waiting for what seems like forever, Iris thinks about all the exciting things she and her new cousin will someday do together. And given Iris' vibrant imagination, there's no telling what to expect. National Book Award winner Kimberly Willis Holt offers a unique take on some of the traditional and not-so-traditional myths surrounding a baby's arrival, with an extra layer of imagination added by Gabi Swiatkowska's fresh and whimsical paintings.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gorgeous to look at."

The New York Times

 

"Swiatkowska ... elegantly muses on the elasticity of time and the mystery of gestation.... This is one for all ages."

Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

 

"This child’s-eye take on the passage of time is concrete and comforting."

Kirkus Reviews

 

"There is more to discover with each viewing."

School Library Journal

 

"The mix of the everyday and the magical from the child's viewpoint captures the longing, mystery, and joy."

Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Holt's (When Zachary Beaver Came to Town) affectionate story of awaiting a new baby touches on the many myths associated with this joyous event. When young Iris hears that Aunt Athena is expecting a baby boy, to be called Gregory, she eagerly asks everyone, "When will Gregory be here?" Grandpa says Gregory will arrive "when the giant stork flies across the sky and drops over your aunt's house." Grandma says he'll be tucked under a cabbage in the garden. And Iris's friend Lacey says to relax until her aunt has eaten "a thousand chocolate-chip ice cream sundaes with sour pickles on top." But waiting for Gregory has its rewards: when Iris finally holds the newborn in her arms, she realizes there is a time and reason for everything. "Soon, but not too soon, though not too long at all," says Iris, echoing the adults from the earlier pages, "Gregory will be waiting for me." In her artwork, Swiatkowska (My Name Is Yoon) elegantly muses on the elasticity of time and the mystery of gestation. She unmoors her characters from geography and gravity; they float in austere, brush-stroked spaces. Iris is a cross between Vel zquez's infanta and a rococo shepherdess; her friend Lacey could have stepped right out of Renoir's Two Little Circus Girls. A stunning final close-up of Iris cuddling the baby seems to be composed of bubbles of pearly, rosy light, bringing the more abstract images back to the cozily familiar. This is one for all ages. Ages 4-7 (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Young Iris shares with us her eager anxiety as she awaits the birth of her cousin Gregory. Each person she asks about when he will arrive has a different imaginative and unusual answer for her. Will he be dropped by the giant stork into his parents' arms, as Grandpa suggests, or be under the cabbage in their garden, as Grandma says? Or will they have to build a ladder up to the clouds where babies live? Her mother says everyone is "a little bit right," but no one knows exactly when. Iris has so many things she wants to show Gregory. When he is finally there, she is a bit disappointed at how small he is. Iris sits contemplatively on the hand of a clock on the cover, chin in hand, rosy-cheeked and charming. Gouache, watercolors, acrylics, enamel, and tempera are all combined to visualize her search and the old-fashioned answers to her questions. Impressionistic in feeling, the illustrations combine intricate line drawings of machines, assorted animals, atmospheric backgrounds, and costumed family members in intriguing mixtures. An unusual addition to the many books on the expected new baby. 2006, Henry Holt and Company, Ages 4 to 7.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-It's no surprise that the exquisitely rendered child attired in 18th-century clothing on the title page, her mouth open, eyes alight, is an inquisitive little girl. Iris is anxiously awaiting a cousin's birth, but when she asks when it will happen, she receives some outlandish answers. Grandpa says the baby will come "When the giant stork flies across the sky and drops him over your aunt's house." Grandma says he will grow under a cabbage. Mr. Conner says he will come after the nine months it takes to build a ladder to the clouds and get him. Only Momma gives the little girl a bead on the truth. But it still takes a long time, and when Gregory does arrive, Iris must continue to wait to build a snowman with him. Swiatkowska's familiar swirls of paint are evident in the pictures inspired by French artists and circus themes. The myths Iris hears about Gregory's birth appear throughout in surreal paintings and drawings-a stork moves along on a pulley to make its delivery; clocks mark the passage of time; animals, charts, and weird-looking inventions abound. There is more to discover with each viewing. Waiting for an infant to be born is not a new theme in picture books, but the mixed-media illustrations here make this rendition unique.-Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Young Iris can't help but wonder how and when her baby cousin, who is to be named Gregory, will arrive. She asks her most-trusted adults and her friend, Lacey, but their whimsical replies, involving storks and cabbage patches and pickles, leave her unsatisfied. Finally, her mother tells her the plain, honest truth: No one knows the exact day and time . . . we will just have to wait and see. Holt's narrative conveys the wistful wishfulness of a little one's wait: The snow, the dandelions and the summer vacation all come and go before Gregory is born. This child's-eye take on the passage of time is concrete and comforting. In contrast, Swiatkowska's surreal pictures-color-drenched figures on loan from Renoir canvases set against da Vinci-esque engineering sketches-seem like quirky, Monty-Python-like efforts to diagram dreams. The paintings are dappled and disarming, but young readers may find the disquieting visual narrative a bewildering and curious counterpoint to the much more mainstream text. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805073881
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 3/21/2006
  • Edition description: REV
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,414,640
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.83 (w) x 11.14 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

Kimberly Willis Holt is the author of the Piper Reed series, including Piper Reed, Navy Brat, Piper Reed, Clubhouse Queen, and Piper Reed, Rodeo Star. She has written many award-winning novels, including The Water Seeker and My Louisiana Sky, as well as the picture books The

Adventures of Granny Clearwater and Little Critter and Skinny Brown Dog. Holt was born in Pensacola, Florida, and lived all over the U.S. and the world—from Paris to Norfolk to Guam to New Orleans. She long dreamed of being a writer, but first worked as a radio news director, marketed a water park, and was an interior decorator, among other jobs. A few years after she started writing, her third book, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, won a National Book Award for Young People's Literature. She resides in West Texas with her family.

Gabi Swiatkowska is the illustrator of Arrowhawk and My Name Is Yoon, among other books for children. She lives in Poland.

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