cover image How to Two

How to Two

David Soman. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-525-42784-1

Soman (the Ladybug Girl series) imagines the ways that a growing number of children can play together by counting up to 10. “How to one,” shows a lone boy on a city playground slide, arms and legs flying. In “How to two,” the boy and a girl see-saw together. “How to three!” shows the two holding a jump rope for a third child, while “How to four?” introduces still another to a game of foursquare. The children represent an array of different skin tones and sizes, and they’re unfailingly kind to each other, inviting lonely newcomers to join their games. More is always better, and as the group gets bigger, the games grow more exciting. Soman’s watercolors find beauty in the landscape of play as the children regard a pond filled with red-eared sliders and splash joyously in puddles after a shower, their antics mirrored in the water while clouds scud overhead. A later spread shows the children going off with their parents and guardians—two men, single parents, a hijabi mother—until “How to one” begins anew. In kinetic illustrations, Soman champions diversity, inclusiveness, and the power of allowing children to play as they wish. Ages 3–5. (Mar.)