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PLAY WITH ME by Michael Elsohn Ross


by Michael Elsohn Ross & illustrated by Julie Downing

Age Range: 2 - 5

Pub Date: June 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-58246-255-4
Publisher: Tricycle

Five scenes of children and parents at play interspersed among images of frolicking animal families create a gentle celebration of intergenerational fun. Diversity is found in the multiracial cast of human characters, the different kinds of animals and their varied activities. The text’s rhyming cadence borders on cloying at times, but it is nicely supplemented by text labeling the featured animals: “Blow some bubbles in the deep blue sea. / Snap up a fish and toss it to me,” reads the double-page spread featuring a “dolphin and calf” (distressingly depicted blowing bubbles out of their mouths, not their blowholes) and a “sea lion and pup.” This child-friendly text is complemented by backmatter aimed at adults, with advice about the importance of play in children’s lives and connections to play in the animal kingdom. Downing’s watercolor illustrations employ a muted palette and use rounded forms that often emphasize physical closeness between characters. While there is nothing to mark this as an outstanding title, it is a welcome affirmation of play and connection in young children’s lives. (Picture book. 2-5)