BOOK REVIEW: Waiting for High Tide, by Nikki McClure

Readers of this blog know that my family and I love the papercut art of Nikki McClure. Her annual calendar graces the space above my wife’s desk every year. And I recently posted on Instagram these two images, one showing a favorite scene from the 2009 book All In A Day, for which she illustrated, and the other showing her VOTE! image that her distributor produced as newsprint posters and mailed out for free.

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Previously I have posted about a book she wrote and illustrated ( In, 2015) and another she illustrated ( May the Stars Drip Down, 2014), as well as her art on display at Portland’s Museum of Contemporary Craft in 2011, which for me exudes the theme of connecting children to nature. I was delighted to learn that McClure has authored and illustrated another book centered around children and nature:


Nikki McClure, Waiting for High Tide (New York: Abrams Books, 2016), 48 pp. $19.95, hardcover.

Publisher’s description For one young boy, it’s a perfect summer day to spend at the beach with his family. He scours the high tide line for treasures, listens to the swizzling sound of barnacles, and practices walking the plank. But mostly he waits for high tide. Then he’ll be able to swim and dive off the log raft his family is building. While he waits, sea birds and other creatures mirror the family’s behaviors: building and hunting, wading and eating. At long last the tide arrives, and human and animal alike savor the water. Another beautiful ode to life lived in harmony with nature, and by the labor of one’s own hands, from an artist of great warmth and clarity.

Crabs, barnacles, gulls, clams, a heron, and kids. These are the wild creatures that so patiently await the rising of high tide.


McClure’s words and images bring life, if only for one day, to these words from the naturalist and environmentalist Rachel Carson:

To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of years, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be. (The Edge of the Sea)

There’s something about bringing kids to the coast. Their sense of wonder is heightened within this space between land and sea.


In Waiting for High Tide, McClure captures the curiosity of a child exploring a well-loved natural landscape (seascape, too!) and sharing the experience with family.

Purchase Waiting for High Tide through the publisher, the author’s distributor, or the independent Powell’s City of Books. And we were thrilled to see McClure this month at the Audubon Society of Portland’s annual Wild Arts Festival:


This entry was posted in audubon society of portland, beach, books, coast, oceans, rachel carson, Uncategorized, water play, wild arts festival. Bookmark the permalink.

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