cover image We All Play

We All Play

Julie Flett. Greystone Kids, $17.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-77164-607-9

Cree-Métis artist Flett (Birdsong) starts with quiet, elegant portraits of animals at play attended by brief, motion-filled lines of text. Velvety dark brown rabbits jump across the page (“Animals hide/ and hop”); a fox investigates a turtle as kits peer timidly from the page’s edge (“and sniff/ and sneak”); an owlet peeks out from the page as others cluster together, their new wings delicately etched (“and peek/and peep”). Then a group of small children of various skin tones appears, leaping, jumping, and lying on their backs in tall grass as butterflies flit above. “We play too! kimêtawânaw mîna” they say. An author’s note discusses the Cree phrase as well as the kinship between animals and people, whether “running and hopping through the grass or... pondering creatures in the creek.” In spare compositions, Flett aptly underlines this idea by showing animals and humans embracing play in similar ways (snakes slide, children sled down a hill in the snow), until at last, “slowly, side by side,” everyone sleeps. Also includes a glossary and pronunciation guide. Ages up to 7. [em]Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (May) [/em]