Thirty poetic firecrackers chronicle a young child’s day.
Combining themes that worked well in the popular Crocodiles Say… (2005) and Crocodiles Play! (2009, both illustrated by Rae Maté), here Heidbreder joins forces with illustrator Smith to capture children at their most active and carefree as they go about their routines from dawn to bedtime. Together, these Canadian creators paint a warm portrait of suburban daily life, with kids enjoying their friends, siblings, pets, sunshine—all the basic pleasures of the moment. Heidbreder’s five-line sonic bursts, such as “Now Back Down,” are generally not contemplative poems but employ tight trochaic dimeter and trimeter to underscore the joy to be had in getting out in the world and exploring: “Bummy-wiggle. / Slip-down…THUD! / Gurpy-slurpy. / Hello, mud! / Plop!” And Smith’s simple, retro illustrations, rendered in pencil and colored digitally, ably depict the action of various scenes, using bold colors and spare facial expressions to show children, pets and yard animals like rabbits and birds at play. Notably absent from these illustrations are adults, whose influence is only subtly felt, as providers of a picnic or dinnertime spread, or heard in reconciling a playground spat or lending behavioral suggestions (especially regarding table manners).
While in no way pushing the creative envelope, this light-verse picture book still has much to offer pre-readers looking for affirmation of what constitutes a full day of fun. (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)