Review of Wait—and See

Wait—and SeeWait—and See
by Helen Frost; photos by Rick Lieder
Primary    Candlewick    32 pp.    g
5/22    978-1-5362-1631-8    $17.99

As in their earlier collaborations (e.g., Among a Thousand Fireflies, rev. 3/16), poet Frost and photographer Lieder celebrate the wonders revealed through close observation of the natural world—here, the praying mantis. The text invites children to freeze: “If a quick small / movement / takes you by / surprise, / stop and look— / move nothing / but your eyes.” Frost explains that you might see a hungry, hunting praying mantis snag its prey if you watch quietly. Lieder’s pictures put the praying mantises and the flora upon which they perch on crisp display, leaving the rest of the surroundings in soft focus. We see a praying mantis capturing a bee in its long, toothed front legs as well as one emerging as a nymph from its nest, followed by “hundreds more” dangling together as they hatch. Between Frost’s advice (“Be still and quiet, / watching”) and Lieder’s photographs, children may be able to start spotting the alien-looking yet beautiful creatures in the wild. A closing note offers additional information about the life cycle of Chinese praying mantises. The book design includes a raised image of the insect on the front cover as well as endpapers that begin in day and finish against a dark background for a subtle good-night message.

From the July/August 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Susan Dove Lempke
Susan Dove Lempke
Susan Dove Lempke is a Horn Book reviewer and director of the Niles Public Library District in Illinois.

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