Can’t Wait Willow by Ziglar and Marten

What happens when a child says “yes” to all their desires and urges? Their star gets all sad, that’s what. And that matters.

Can’t Wait Willow
Written by Christy Ziglar
Illustrated by Luanna Marten
Ideals Children’s Books
April 2013

Willow has been waiting for the circus to come to town and when it is finally there she can’t wait to see the show. [SPOILERS] On the way she is tempted to spend her saved cash and her time on ice cream, soccer with friends at the park, lemonade, stuffed animals, and a visit to see exotic birds up close. When she finally gets to the circus it is over and she is broke. Her bad decisions and focus on immediate gratification have left her disappointed and dejected.

Through the kindness of the ringmaster, who finds her crying outside the circus tent, she is given a second chance to make the right decisions. The next day, Willow makes all the right decisions, saying “no” to small good things so she can say “yes” to something amazing. [END SPOILERS]

The lesson is timely and emphatic: instant gratification is fleeting gratification. Lasting satisfaction comes from learning to make smart decisions.

I’ve read this through with my two boys (ages 3 and 7) – yes, this is for boys as well as girls – and they have completely enjoyed it. Not just that, they have learned from it. As we read we are instructed to have the children point out the star (the visible depiction of the choices Willow makes on every page) and ask if the star is happy or sad. When the children answer we ask them why the star is what it is. This interactive lesson reinforces the smart and poor decisions that Willow makes and has left a lasting impression on my boys. I can now say to my almost-four-year-old, “Are you making a smart decision? If you make a bad decision then you may be happy right now but you will miss out on…” It works!

This book is genius! The story and the art are partly whimsy and partly lesson. And they work amazingly well together. I highly recommend this book to parents of kids up to 7 or 8 years old.

Enter to win a hardback copy of this book, generously provided by the publisher. Contest ends November 8th.

Congrats to John K. for winning a copy of Can’t Wait Willow!

Scott Asher is the Editor-in-Chief of His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people where he turns real life into stupid cartoons, writes on Christianity, Zombies, and whatever else he wants and posts Bible studies from his classes at church.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.