Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
PreS-K-Two families meet at the park nearly every day, and while the moms visit on the bench, the preschoolers play together. Jack has brought several trucks with him to the sandbox and Alex has brought a doll with a sparkly pink tutu and ballet shoes. Neither child makes any judgment about the other's preferred toy; with simple ease they find a way to play with both. At one point they seem to have genuinely reached an impasse, but they eventually reach a compromise and continue to play together until they find something that they can both agree on enthusiastically. The spreads are filled with the scenery around the park, tall autumn trees, and a shadowy city skyline, while on the other pages the watercolor illustrations zoom close to Alex and Jack as they talk and play and send sand flying. Illustrations extend the story from cover to cover with the two families greeting each other on the path to the park on the front flyleaf and waving goodbye on the back. Text is simple and repetitive, perfect for a younger preschool audience who might just be learning to share themselves. Simple and tender, this book delivers a powerful message without being didactic. VERDICT A welcome addition to the collection of picture books that challenge gender stereotypes. A first purchase for one-on-one and small group sharing.-Laken Hottle, Providence Community Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
The eye-catching cover illustration gives readers a good idea of where this is going. Two boys one white, one black are playing with toys. One has a dump truck, the other a ballerina doll. One day, Jack asks if Alex wants to play trucks. Let's play dolls, Alex says, adding, that drive trucks. There is a discussion of which toy is better, and then come the fateful words: You can't wear a tutu and drive a crane. Alex disagrees. An argument ensues, but in a clever twist, it turns out the fight isn't about what adult readers might assume. Jack explains to Alex that a doll's tutu won't fit into the driver's seat. Alex considers. He drops the doll's tutu, leaving the doll in purple overalls. Satisfied, both boys continue playing until there's a new priority: the ice-cream truck. Graham, who's illustrated books on sensitive topics before, is the perfect choice for this one. His kid-friendly artwork portrays the dynamics of young childhood play in ways both realistic and fun. In both pictures and words, a smart take.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2018 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Jack likes trucks and Alex likes dolls, but they still have fun playing together.Every morning, the two friends meet in the sandbox at Atwood playground while their caregivers chat together. However, Jack, who is depicted as white, and Alex, who is depicted as black, like different toys. When Jack suggests they "play trucks," Alex comes up with a compromise to include both of their favorite toys in the game. In the end, a shared love for ice cream overcomes the differences in their toy preferences. Subdued watercolors illustrate an autumn morning at a playground near the city. Graham's (Home in the Rain, 2017, etc.) attention to detail brings the world around Jack and Alex to life. The two caregivers, presumably Jack's and Alex's mothers, lean close together in active conversation in the background. Their posture shifts subtly as the story progresses. Passers-by, including an elderly person in a wheelchair and a woman wearing hijab, stroll beyond the fence. Stott's (What to Do When You're Sent to Your Room, 2014, etc.) simple prose focuses on the interaction between Alex and Jack, which leaves room for readers to interpret who the children are based on the illustrations. Neither child ever receives gendered pronouns. Overall, the story conveys a positive message about inclusiveness and compromise.This lighthearted story embraces the freedom of imaginative play. (Picture book. 2-5) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.