Water Hole Waiting


It's a hot day on the savanna. The sun sizzles, bristles, and bakes. A young monkey wants to drink at the water hole.

But wait!

Blocking the way are irritable hippos, sharphoofed zebras, a toothy lion, huge elephants, and a lurking crocodile. Will Monkey ever get to taste cool water? Why is waiting so hard?

A thirsty monkey waits as the larger animals drink from ...

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It's a hot day on the savanna. The sun sizzles, bristles, and bakes. A young monkey wants to drink at the water hole.

But wait!

Blocking the way are irritable hippos, sharphoofed zebras, a toothy lion, huge elephants, and a lurking crocodile. Will Monkey ever get to taste cool water? Why is waiting so hard?

A thirsty monkey waits as the larger animals drink from the water hole on the African savanna.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
The authors who have lived in Ethiopia and traveled in Kenya depict a waterhole and the drama of the animals that come to drink there from morning to night. Throughout, sad-faced monkeys wait their turn so as not to get stepped on by elephants and hippos, or trampled by the grazers, or eaten by the ever-present crocodile floating like a log in the water. Telegraphic, often poetic prose, in short bursts, tells how mama monkey grabs whatever part of her anxious and thirsty baby she can reach—ear, leg, tail—to teach him to wait while the personified sun cartwheels up and somersaults across the sky until evening slinks through, pulling shadows behind it. Finally, "Evening sighs. Sun sinks./Crocodile ripples away" and "the monkeys leap/jiggle/chitter-chatter/wiggle/all the way down/to the waiting water hole./Aaaaah." The book pairs well with other African savannah-set stories to show the importance of a waterhole and the animals that use it. 2002, Greenwillow,
— Susan Hepler
School Library Journal
The rhythm of life in the African savanna is conveyed with poetic text and expressive illustrations. The author's note includes the Internet address for a water hole Web cam. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A baby monkey awakens on the African savanna, eager for a trip to the watering hole. But Mama makes him wait as they watch a parade of animals take turns drinking. His cautious mother must physically restrain him with a pull on the tail or a grab at his neck to keep him from being eaten or trampled by the other animals. Some awkward phrasing: "The silence pokes at Monkey's ear," is balanced by internal rhyme that works well for read-aloud: "Sun cartwheels slowly up the sky, herding hippopotami. The grasslands fill with birdcalls, wails, a loud buzz-buzzing of insects, a great swish-swishing of tails." Soft-focus pastels convey the golden light and heat of the savanna. Close-ups of the creatures are sure to appeal to animal enthusiasts, although the monkeys, especially Mama, look depressed or angry. An author's note explains watering-hole protocol and the signaling system of the vervet monkeys portrayed in the story. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060298500
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/30/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 561,114
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: AD280L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Kurtz

Jane Kurtz is a highly acclaimed author of books for young readers. Her picture books include Fire on the Mountain, an honor book for the Marion Vannett Ridgeway Award, and River Friendly, River Wild, winner of the Golden Kite Award for picture book text. Christopher Kurtz previously collaborated with his sister, Jane, on Only a Pigeon, which won a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and an African Studies Association Award. Jane and Christopher spent part of their childhoods in a remote village in Ethiopia. Christopher returned to Ethiopia to teach as an adult and spent many hours with monkeys at the Awash National Park. Jane visited the water hole at Treetops, Kenya, while working on this story. Jane Kurtz lives in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and Christopher Kurtz lives in Portland, Oregon.

Lee Christiansen illustrated Water Hole Waiting by Jane Kurtz and Christopher Kurtz. School Library Journal called the illustrations "breathtaking" while Kirkus Reviews noted the "vivid artwork complements the elegant text, often extending it with additional details." Water Hole Waiting was named a School Library Journal Best Book and a National Science Teachers Association/Children's Book Council Outstanding Science Trade Book.

Lee Christiansen lives in Red Lodge, Montana, with his wife and sons.

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