Title: You’re Finally Here
Author: Melanie Watt
Illustrator: Melanie Watt
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Audience: 4-8 years
Summary: “You’re finally here,” shouts the rabbit in an excited welcome.” “But where were you?” And the rabbit turns from excitement to irritation as he recounts with analogies how long he has waited and how bored he has been. Realizing he may have overdone the complaints, he turns once more to a warm welcome with cake, signs, and music. With another change in mood he points out how unfair, how annoying, and how rude it is to have kept him waiting. After a semi-apology he says, “Stay!” followed by extravagant promises of his undivided attention. He presents a contract, which we now recognize is for the reader for whom he has been waiting. (You) The contract is a guarantee that you, the reader, will never keep the bunny waiting, give him/her (it’s uncertain) all of your attention, and carrot treats. While the bunny is exulting in this agreement, a phone rings and claims his attention. He describes the reader that has turned up to the second caller, “No fleas and a good steady page turner.” You , the reader, close the book as the bunny is left saying, ”Where are you going? Was it something I said?”
Literary elements at work in the story: Is this literature? It has a plot, of sorts; it has a one sided conversation stacked with analogies about waiting, boredom, unfairness and it has an ending. The print for these statements ranges from large to enormous, depending on the vehemence with which the bunny is speaking; this is the most important visual element in this picture book. Children will enjoy the analogies: Waiting is as unfair as eating Brussels sprout, as annoying as wearing an itchy sweater, as rude as sticking gum under the couch. The age of the bunny is not stated but he seems young to be getting so many cell phone calls.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? None of these perspectives figure in the story.
Theological Conversation Partners: Children spend a great deal of time waiting – for adults, for Christmas and other important days, for events that are planned and controlled by others. It is not a desirable experience for them, as the young bunny illustrates. Yet “wait on the Lord” is a common biblical imperative. Waiting attentively and creatively is a spiritual discipline that allows us to be ready to hear God. We wait for the return of the Lord, the establishment of the Kingdom. Advent is a season when we focus on this aspect of waiting. This book could be a useful stimulus to talking about waiting, waiting patiently, waiting watchfully, waiting obediently, waiting confidently. The second layer of this story is how we feel when all this anger and complaining is actually directed toward us and when we take second place to a cell phone call. The Golden Rule may help us think about this.
Faith Talk Questions
- Think about a time you have had to wait. Why were you waiting?
- What was your reaction toward waiting if another person caused it?
- We can’t make time go faster but we can make it seem shorter? How?
- Have you ever kept anyone waiting? How did they feel?
- How did you feel when you realized that the bunny was mad at you?
- Advent is a season of expectant waiting. What are some things we do in Advent?
- The Bible says a lot about waiting because God is not operating on our calendars and time schedules. Here are a few verses about waiting: Ps. 27:14; Hab. 2:3, Mic 7:7, Rom. 8:23, 25, 2 Pet. 3:13.
- All Christians are waiting on God daily and finally. Jesus tells a story about waiting for the return of the master. Mark 13:32-37.
- Does waiting mean doing nothing?
Review prepared by regular contributor Virginia Thomas
Note: If you’re interested in other books that help children think about waiting – especially during the Advent season of anticipation and preparation – check out Who is Coming to Our House? or What’s Coming for Christmas?.
You’re Finally Here by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.