cover image Play?


Linda Olafsdottir. Cameron Kids (PGW, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-944903-06-0

Having a blast with a treasured stuffed pal is one thing; doing so with another living, breathing kid can be another. That’s the situation facing two toddlers in this understated story from Icelandic illustrator Olafsdottir, her first book as author. The pared-down text introduces each child and his or her stuffed animal: Phil and his puffin, Puff, are shown jumping, dancing, crawling, and enjoying each other’s company in a series of joyful vignettes, and a girl named Frida and her Fox do the same in a parallel sequence. The two are having so much fun independently that playing together seems like the logical next step, but Phil isn’t quite ready to make that leap. “Play?” Frida offers, crawling toward him. He clutches Puff and turns away, and she erupts in tears. The rift is short-lived, though; Phil just needs a little time to warm up to the idea. Olafsdottir sensitively portrays the children’s thawing relationship in beautifully observed images, and her soft, careful pencil details draw substantial emotion out of their body language and expressions. Ages 1–5. [em](Apr.) [/em]