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Soon by Timothy Knapman, illustrated by Patrick Benson




Soon by Timothy Knapman, marvelously illustrated by Patrick Benson is my new favorite book to read out loud and to myself. Sadly, this fine picture book sat on my shelf for a year before I got around to reading it and reviewing it. I knew that Soon had to be a great book - a mother and baby elephant, the word "soon" and Patrick Benson's gentle illustrations, but I didn't know how truly great Soon is until I read it to a class of first graders. Before I began reading, I asked them if they knew how many minutes are in "soon." The answers were hilarious. The pacing and plot of Soon are ideal for reading out loud. Soon can be a quiet book and a loud book and the suspense is perfectly balanced, keeping even the wiggliest listener still and focused on the story. I can't believe that I lost a whole year of reading Soon out loud, but now that I have found it, Soon will be a story time staple in my library and a book I give as a gift often.


Soon begins on the endpapers. It is just before dawn and in the early grey light, a mother and baby elephant can be seen walking toward the hills in the distance. They have set out on a great adventure. It is cold and dark and they walk for a long time with little Raju asking, "When can we go home again?" and his mother answering, "Soon." This is a question and answer that is repeated over and over: as they try to pass quietly by the sleeping crocodiles, the slithering snake and the prowling tiger. Each danger brings a powerful response from Raju's mother, and this is where the story can get loud - if you want it to. Finally, the pair come to a mountain and Raju's mother tells him to hold tight to her tail as they climb to the top.At the top, Raju can see "all his world spread out before him." "It's beautiful, isn't it?" says his mother, to which Raju replies simply, "Yes."



The pair begin the long walk back to their "cozy little home." Raju is tired and his feet hurt and he had never been up so late. But, on the final pages of the book, he says to his mother, "When can we do it all again?" I have no doubt you know his mother's answer. The endpapers show a starry night sky, his mother's trunk resting on Raju's back.



It is such a joy to take listeners on this journey every time I read Soon out loud.


Source: Review Copy


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