A classic game on the playground becomes a vehicle for a young boy to make friends.
It is David’s first day at his new school. “He didn’t know anyone. / He had no friends / To hang out with / Or trade tuna fish sandwiches.” As he observes his new surroundings, “bundled up deep in his pocket: / A string of rubber bands [waits] / Knotted and ready / For a game of elastic skip.” The recess bell rings, giving David the chance to see what his classmates play. Many of the activities of choice may carry a touch of nostalgia for adult readers, with students playing ring around the rosy, red rover, and hopscotch or skipping rope. As David spends ample time exploring his options, he even finds some kids playing video games, reading, or simply “Blowing dandelions into / A galaxy of stars.” Eventually he finds a group of “classmates / Tired of hopscotching / Back and forth / And forth and back.” David jumps at the opportunity to offer up his elastic skip, explaining the rules successfully to “create a new playing field” of friends. Maurey is strategic with detail, paring ample use of negative space with soft gradients of pastel color. The result is a whimsical tone that matches the controlled, poetic text. David presents as Asian with classmates diverse both racially and in ability. An author’s note follows that briefly touches on the Chinese origins of elastic skip.
A gentle tale of courage and friendship. (Picture book. 5-8)