Jack likes trucks and Alex likes dolls, but they still have fun playing together.
Every morning, the two friends meet in the sandbox at Atwood playground while their caregivers chat together. However, Jack, who is depicted as white, and Alex, who is depicted as black, like different toys. When Jack suggests they “play trucks,” Alex comes up with a compromise to include both of their favorite toys in the game. In the end, a shared love for ice cream overcomes the differences in their toy preferences. Subdued watercolors illustrate an autumn morning at a playground near the city. Graham’s (Home in the Rain, 2017, etc.) attention to detail brings the world around Jack and Alex to life. The two caregivers, presumably Jack’s and Alex’s mothers, lean close together in active conversation in the background. Their posture shifts subtly as the story progresses. Passers-by, including an elderly person in a wheelchair and a woman wearing hijab, stroll beyond the fence. Stott’s (What to Do When You’re Sent to Your Room, 2014, etc.) simple prose focuses on the interaction between Alex and Jack, which leaves room for readers to interpret who the children are based on the illustrations. Neither child ever receives gendered pronouns. Overall, the story conveys a positive message about inclusiveness and compromise.
This lighthearted story embraces the freedom of imaginative play. (Picture book. 2-5)