Almost Time

Clarion. Jan. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544785816.
PreS-Gr 1–Young Ethan and his faithful teddy try to understand why they must wait for sugaring time to bring maple syrup back to their breakfast table for pancakes, corn bread, and oatmeal. His dad patiently explains the need to wait for warmer temperatures and shorter nights before tapping the trees, but the child repeatedly asks, “How long?” Things get really tough when Ethan also has to wait for a loose tooth to come out. The tooth and sap finally cooperate on the same day. Readers get to see a bit of the syrup process from tree to table. Karas’s mixed media illustrations are bold and dynamic. Indoor scenes of Ethan and his dad are warm and cozy, while the cold, crisp outdoor scenes are starkly evocative.
VERDICT In addition to promoting the value of patience, Schmidt’s story will also be valuable for early study of changing seasons and teaching where food comes from. A fine choice for most collections.

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