HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: I’ll Play With You
Author: Mary McKenna Siddals
Illustrator: David Wisniewski
Publisher: Clarion Books, 2000
Language level: 1 (nothing objectionable)
Reading level: Ages 3-8
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Siddals. Mary McKenna. I’ll Play With You (published in 2000 by Clarion Books). This is one of the books which we checked out of the library for extra practice when our younger son Jeremy was learning to read. In this cheerful, well-crafted picture book, characteristics of the sun, wind, clouds, rain, stars, and moon are revealed from a child’s point of view, as four youngsters treat nature as their playmate and ask the different elements to play with them. A waking boy tells the sun, “Meet me outside.” A girl greets the wind as she brushes her teeth. While sitting in a grassy field with his pet beagle, another boy challenges the clouds to make some pictures and he’ll guess what they are. A girl implores the rain to fill up the puddles so she can go splashing, then dons a yellow slicker and leaps right in. At day’s end, all four unite on a hillside under a vast star-filled sky and tell the stars, “You twinkle, and I’ll try to count you.” Then the children, all back in their own rooms, fall asleep with the moon shining through the window.
Author Mary Siddals, who also wrote Tell Me a Season, provides an attractive offering with a smooth, rhythmic text, simple, but rich with detail, that is well suited to reading aloud. Illustrator David Wisniewski depicts detailed images of tiny leaves, draped cloth, and the children’s alert faces, as well as more abstract ideas, such as an invisible wind, which he whips up by slicing a spiral of semi-transparent paper. His cut-paper artwork in variegated colors accentuates the depth and height of the panoramic view. The sun looks warm and creates interesting shadows, the blowing and swirling motion of the wind is illustrated by the graceful movement of a collection of fall-colored leaves, and the nighttime scenes are depicted in cool shades of dusky blue. The young characters spend some time apart from other human companions, but it’s a nice solitude that suggests a fresh connection with the world.