cover image What Are You Waiting For?

What Are You Waiting For?

Scott Menchin, illus. by Matt Phelan. Roaring Brook/Porter, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62672-152-4

For a curious badger, a riddle set up by its friend—an early-rising rabbit—proves tantalizing and a little frustrating. Menchin (Goodnight Selfie) writes solely in dialogue: “What are you waiting for?” asks the badger one morning. “Wouldn’t you like to know,” responds the rabbit, scampering away. Clues mount (“So it changes?” “It’s always changing.” “Is it old?” “It’s very old!”), and in a series of quietly lovely moments, Phelan echoes the badger’s questions in the things the animals notice as they make their way through the woods—a subtle window into the way the badger translates its observations into guesses. “Does it have eyes?” it wonders in a field of black-eyed susans, two of which seem to stare out at readers. “Is it scary?” the badger asks as the duo peers into a shadowy cave. The brisk, sketchy quality of Phelan’s (Marilyn’s Monster) pencil and pastel artwork mirrors the zippiness of the animals’ exchanges, and the answer to the riddle, revealed only after the sun has set, makes the case that some things are worth waiting all day for. Ages 2–8. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (May)