Review of See Me Play

See Me Play [I Like to Read]
by Paul Meisel; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Holiday    32 pp.
6/19    978-0-8234-3832-7    $15.99
e-book ed.  978-0-8234-4314-7    $9.99

The amiable yellow dog from Meisel’s previous entries in the estimable I Like to Read series (including Meisel’s Geisel Honor–winning See Me Run) returns in another adventure. Here our narrator joins a large group of dog friends to chase a tennis ball through a park: “I see the ball. The ball is fast.” So far, so ordinary. But then a flip from a beaver’s tail in the park’s pond sends the ball high into the air, where a bird catches it (“The bird has the ball”); the bird drops the ball into the ocean, where a whale catches it (“The whale has the ball”); etc. When the ball is jettisoned back to land via the whale’s blowhole, a lion catches it…and this time — gulp! — “The ball is gone.” Throughout, the entire doggy group continues to chase after the ball: cheerfully crammed into a hot-air balloon, a small boat, and finally a sporty pink convertible. Readers who have bought into the whole outlandish journey should be both surprised and delighted by Meisel’s humorous circular ending, which returns the dogs to the park, once again ready to play: “I see a stick.” With just a single sentence on each double-page spread, a very limited vocabulary, lots of repetition, simple syntax, and clear clues in the lively watercolor illustrations, this book gives new readers plenty of support while also keeping them enormously entertained.

From the July/August 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano
Martha V. Parravano is book review editor of The Horn Book, Inc., and co-author of the Calling Caldecott blog.

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