cover image WHAT SHALL WE PLAY?


Sue Heap, . . Candlewick, $13.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1685-4

Lily May finally gets her way in Heap's (Cowboy Baby) imaginative playtime romp. The heroine states her wish at the start and remains consistent: "Let's play fairies," she says. But friends Matt and Martha prefer pretending to be trees, cars, cats and even "wibbly-wobbly Jell-O." Vignettes depict each child's activity on the left of the spread ("Matt was a big tree./ Martha was a shaky tree./ Lily May was a quiet tree"), while a full-bleed illustration of the trio, opposite, shows their ensemble ("Then all three of them were a row of trees reaching for the sky"). Throughout, cut-out drawings of pets, hats and various props infuse each spread with a childlike sensibility. "I have a magic wand," Lily May says when at last it's her turn to lead. With a single "Abracadabra!" the friends are flying with newfound wings against a background of twilight purple, mauve and indigo. By the end, Matt and Martha can't help but agree with Lily May: "I love playing fairies!" A spirited, spontaneous offering that subtly demonstrates the rewards of patience. Ages 3-up. (Apr.)