PLAY WITH ME by Agnese Baruzzi


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 1 - 3
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Two fingers can slide through the two holes cut through the book to act as stand-ins for arms or legs of the characters within.

Each scene represents a different sport, activity, or artistic pursuit, with the text a simple three-word invitation with the appropriate verb swapped in. For example, in the spread captioned “Swim with me,” a bikini-wearing swimmer floats in an inner tube as readers’ fingers act as kicking legs, and in “Walk with me,” the readers’ digits become an astronaut’s legs on a spacewalk. The gimmick works well when the fingers act as legs, with the ballet dancing, swinging at the playground, and skateboarding pages some of the most satisfying. However, it is unclear what the fingers-as-arms are supposed to do in the “Celebrate with me” party spread and the volleyball scene. Baruzzi’s highly saturated images with smooth lines feature one solo figure in each tableau. Only three people with darker-than-pale skin tones are depicted out of the 13 figures presented, and some of these activities veer toward stereotype (two of the children who look to be of African descent drum and play basketball). While the pages are thick, they are thinner than typical board-book stock and may not hold up well to robust play.

Unsuccessful; look for offerings by Hervé Tullet and Betsy Snyder for better versions of this gimmick. (Board book. 1-3)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-988-8341-71-9
Page count: 24pp
Publisher: Minedition
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 2019


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