Ways to Play

Levine Querido. Aug. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781646142590.
PreS-Gr 3–A boy named Riley introduces himself and shares his frustrations about his bossy older cousin Emma; she thinks there’s only one way to play—the right way! Riley’s way is wrong, wrong, wrong. Bouncing from toy to toy, organizing stuffies for a tea party, feeling like the room is too hot—these provide Riley and readers room to breathe and understand just how important different ways to play need to be for many young children. Pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations saturate each page with several spreads spilling over with images of Charlie, Riley’s exuberant tail-wagging canine whose loving expressions are captured agreeably when the cousins decide to follow Riley outside to play in the backyard. Miller-Lachmann’s personal experiences as an undiagnosed autistic child are reflected in this poignant story, which is accompanied by a detailed author’s note. The poignant text teams together with ebullient drawings, delivering a welcome and heartwarming message for all young readers.
VERDICT Many libraries will find this picture book appealing, especially if their collection of stories needs a new and welcome addition with respect to children of all abilities.

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