From the co-creator and illustrator of the Ladybug Girl books comes a joyful exploration of a day at the playground, where a young child finds new playmates and shares new activities in almost every spread until one has become 10 and it’s clear that all are welcome to play.
Sparse text—the words “How to” followed by a number with occasional changes in punctuation—and subtle illustrated details offer multiple opportunities for readers to practice counting from one to 10 on each spread: The back endpapers explicitly ask readers to “find the critters,” while the spine depicts 10 running silhouettes, and the book’s jacket back depicts child hands of many shades indicating numbers. The text’s pacing and layout at times feel a bit forced when it extends the patterned “how to…” lines across more than one double-page spread, but overall the pacing is balanced, especially in the gorgeous wordless full-bleed spread that depicts all 10 children playing after the rainstorm before parting ways. Perhaps most valuable, however, are Soman’s thoughtful, diverse depictions of the children and families (an interracial two-dad family; several solo older caregivers; an older sibling; a brown-skinned woman in a headscarf) through a range of skin and hair color, clothing, and gender presentations. Meanwhile, the young child and their mother, whose story grounds the book, appear to be white.
No two ways about it—this one is a delight. (Picture book. 3-8)