Sunday, April 17, 2011

Waiting to Waltz A Childhood by Cynthia Rylant

Creative as always! Cynthia Rylant, the author of Waiting to Waltz - A Childhood, created a book of poems with 30 titles all tied together by one them....a story of a girl named Veronica growing up in a town called Beaver. Veronica is telling about the people she encounters each day, her feelings about life, her first kiss, her friends (and their dogs), stores around Beaver, her experiences in love, in church, and leaving as she became older.

Each poem I kept thinking to myself, "This one is my favorite," until I read them all and they all became "my favorite." Although Cynthia Rylant writes about real life themes, and sometimes these themes seem a bit dark, they always have an essence of humor attached. For instance, in The Kool-Kup, Veronica talks about in the summer she has no one looking after her so she ends of eatting chili dog, chips, and shakes everyday. She comments that she prefers it this way instead of having a "fat old babysitter who ate rm candy while she watched the soaps." Funny! But, she also talks about serious things like her mother who she learned to appreciate. She was embarrassed that her mother didn't take part in the PTA like other girl's mothers did. But, one day someone took sick, and they asked Veronica what to do (because her mother was a nurse). Veronica realized the importance of her job.

Great collection. The illustrations, by Stephen Gammell, added to the story. I thought that the pictures stayed to the seriousness of some of the ideas, but the comical side of the words still shined through. The illustrator fine pencil drawings. He also was the same illustrator for Cynthia Rylant's The Relatives Came. And when I reseached his works I noticed that he relishes in scary, spooky images. This was definitely portrayed in Waiting to Waltz.


  1. I did not realize that Stephen Gammell was the same illustrator from The Relatives Came. I was surprised because I remember the illustrations from The Relatives being much different (or at least just colorful).

  2. I also read that Stephen Gammell was the illustrator for The Relatives Came. The two illustrations are quite different and both are great. I think it reveals his talent as he is able to reflect the mood and theme so well.