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Monday, June 28, 2010

Can I Play Too? Written and illustrated by Mo Willems. Hyperion, HB Fenn. 2010. $10.50 ages 3 and up

Let's play catch!
I love playing catch with friends!"

Lucky I am to have friends who listen when I want to talk about books...and a son and daughter who love them as I do. They never complain when I read for them what's new and wonderful in the world of children's literature. Although they live far away and must share my enthusiasm over the phone, they never complain and always pretend to be listening.

When the newest in the Elephant and Piggie series arrived this week, I was almost rolling on the floor! The two friends are so excited to have each other and the chance to play catch together. Imagine their surprise when a snake slithers up with a plaintive 'can I play, too?' They look at the snake and then at each other, while the snake worries that they don't want him to play. Of course they do, but how do they explain their dilemma?

Well, you just tell the truth. When they tell him (while wearing brilliant smiles) that they are playing catch, and with their arms, the snake is unconcerned. Now, they must explain that he has no arms! Oh, you just have to get the book to enjoy the true delight of yet another adventure for the two fast friends.

When I talk with kids (and anyone else who will listen) about the joy of these books for the young reader, I don't fail to mention the brilliance of the illustrations. What Mo Willems can do with a few lines and postures is wonderful to see! You have to pore over them again and again to catch all the nuances of their responses.

I have said it before and I will say it again. What an amazing gift to give an emerging reader! These twelve books cost a little over $100 and would be a lasting treasure for someone you love. I know I just sent 4 to a friend's grandson who is soon to be 3. He will laugh right along with Grandma as they share them over and over again!

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