cover image Do You Want to Play?: A Book about Being Friends

Do You Want to Play?: A Book about Being Friends

Bob Kolar. Dutton Children's Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-525-45938-5

Kolar's (Stomp! Stomp!) pleasantly dizzying volume is a variety show of common-sense advice on friendship. In spreads crowded with collage details and sprinkled with words and phrases, he touts fun ways to meet new people at a party or on a playground; the pictures favor theme over plot and brim with activity. Every spread centers on an Ernie-and-Bert-style duo who wander together through the boisterous ""Friendship Park."" All around them, kindly greetings and corny jokes help strangers break the ice. In one dynamic scene, the central characters attend a potluck concert that includes a sax-playing flower, a horn-blowing potato and a cymbal-clashing cat, among a multitude of others. This composition--constructed of gouache, tissue, cutout map-scraps and printed paper--also features multiple typefaces that spell out the bangs, honks and ratta-tats of numerous instruments. ""Sometimes we disagree, and then things really get out of tune,"" observes a bystander, providing transition to a section on fights and name-calling, apologies and forgiveness. (Sample exchange: ""Still pals?"" ""I guess so."") The volume's center spread is a board game that rewards considerate acts and criticizes unfriendliness (""Make fun of someone: Move back 3""). This optimistic, lively book is too big and too busy for just one sitting and, in keeping with its theme, is ideal when shared among two or more readers at a time. Ages 5-8. (May)