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Play with Me (Picture Puffins) Paperback – September 30, 1976
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About the Author
Marie Hall Ets was an American writer and illustrator best known for children's picture books.
Top customer reviews
We have read this several times a day since her birthday; it is rapidly becoming a favorite here. :)
This is a very sweet story line about a little girl who, one day when, "the sun was up and there was dew on the grass ... I went out to the meadow to play."
She encounters a number of different animals and each one proceeds the same way. On the left page she approaches the animal (a bit abruptly) and asks if it would like to play. On the right page the animal hops, flies, or slithers away.
On the second and third pages the text reads:
"A grasshopper sat on the leaf of a weed. He was eating it up for his breakfast.
'Grasshopper,' I said, 'will you play with me?' And I tried to catch him, but he leaped away."
In this fashion she also approaches a frog, turtle, chipmunk, blue jay, rabbit, and snake. They all run away. (The one detraction for me on the book is her approaching the snake. I'm not sure I want my daughter to try and play with snakes ...)
Finally the little girl is alone and she "picks a milkweed and blows off its seeds" and then sits quietly on a rock, watching "a bug making trails in the water."
As she sits there quietly all of the animals slowly return near her. And, as she continues to sit quietly, "so they wouldn't get scared and run away" a baby fawn comes out from behind a fern and licks her cheek.
This book is perfect for the preschool age who are often abrupt and rough without meaning to be or realizing her actions. My daughter always loves to point at each of the animals and say, "They don't want to play with her." I respond with, "Why not?" And she replies, "Because she is too rough, too loud, or too quick and she scares them."
This book is a wonderful catalyst for discussing our actions with others, the importance of patience, considering others, and rough play vs quiet play. I love how the last illustration of the book (no text) the little girl is running out in the field again. It's a good time for more rough and tumble play now that she is done "playing" with the animals.
One of the reviewers here mentioned not liking the illustrations. Personally, I love them and my daughter does as well. They are very unique with a yellow background and then, what appears to be, pencil drawings with minimal earth-tone colors colored in (yellow, brown, green) and the rest remaining in white/black of pencil drawings. You can use the look-inside feature or just look at the book cover to get an idea of what the drawings look like.
To me, they are charming and unique. I also appreciate the sense of composition the artist has (for example, on the page where the girl is sitting quietly to not disturb the animals, you have a true sense of depth with the fence in the foreground, the animals and the girls in the middle of the image, and the sun and landscape in the background. On top of that, this image also uses wonderful framing as well as gaze and lines to move your eyes around the image.)
The illustrations are certainly "more than meets the eye." But the best feature of the illustrations (in my opinion) are the beautifully drawn expressions on the little girls' face. While the illustrations are, again, subtle and very pencil-drawn like, the expressions are so perfectly captured that my 3 year old knows exactly how the girl is feeling in each page. She loves copying her expressions and explaining how she feels and why.
The book itself is a simple paperback book, slightly under 12" would be my guess. Although I can tell it wasn't printed with extra "bells and whistles" I actually like children's books like this. It's soft, simple, and a good size. I could easily slip this into my (albeit large) purse to carry with me and not worry about the weight and my daughter can easily manage holding it and turning the pages by herself while laying down in bed at night.
I highly recommend this book and I am so glad it is a part of our library :)
I can still see the smiles on their faces as they became one with the little girl and her relationship to
the small creatures she invites to play.
My children now have children to share this magical invitation to let their innocence take flight
as did their mommies. I am giving them these priceless little treasure at Easter. Can't wait to see my
daughters' faces light up with recognition. A few tears are guarateed.
What a resource for retracing "moments". I am now searching for a couple of other little treasured books.
I wasn't sure what "school and library binding edition" meant but I took a chance. It was everything I hoped for; brand new, sturdy, hardcover, and affordable. Just like I remembered it. It should live for decades. A beautiful and timeless meditation on the qualities of stillness and observation!