LET'S PLAY by Satomi Ichikawa


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Let's play together./ Let's play with// train// blocks// ball// dolls// tambourine// rocking horse// balloons// playhouse// car// dress-up/ clothes// palls/ one rake/ two shovels// crayons// boat// teddy bear."" So reads the complete text of this picture book, in which a separate double-page (represented here by the double slash) pictures each object as the plaything of three small, far-haired children in what might be early-20th-century dress. But there is no suggestion in the self-contained pictures of that first-page invitation to join in. A composition may be circular, against white space, or a scene's interior or outdoor background might fill the page. A tambourine frames two children holding tambourines; the ball is a beach bail seen in multiple in a beach scene, with a snapshot of a similar scene imposed on the center; other pages see the children at play with their toys in a pretty nursery, a large modern bathroom, and a peaceful lane. There's some variety, then, in design and perspective as well as object and setting, but the unvarying soft nostalgic focus, especially inappropriate for the designated one-to-three-year-old group, and the absence of genuine event (no one would think to wonder what is happening or might happen next, even of the busiest pictures) make a repeated wan impression and a weak experience overall.

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1982
Publisher: Philomel