Want to play trucks? by Ann Stott

cover image

Ill. Bob Graham, Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406378238
(Ages: 4+) Highly Recommended. Themes: Playgrounds. Trucks. Play. Jack and Alex meet most mornings at their local playground to play together, while their mums sit on the seat in the background, chatting and keeping an eye on them. The two play in the sandpit, Jack pushing his beloved trucks around the space, while Alex plays with his dolls. When Jack asks Alex to play trucks, there is a small problem to overcome. Alex would prefer to play with his doll. They decide that the doll can drive the truck and so all is well. When they turn to the forklift truck, things must be decided again. The tutu will not fit in the driver's seat, so again a compromise must be made. The doll is divested of her tutu and dressed in dungarees. All is well.
An ice-cream truck can be heard in the background, all playing is stopped for a treat. And the treat is something no one can argue about.
This delightful tale of a small moment in the sandpit; the use of strong words between the boys, is resolved by the children as they decide what is important. Playing together, finding a way to overcome a disagreement is the basis of their friendship. This gentle tale of peace and understanding is beautifully paralleled in Graham's distinctive water colour illustrations, reflecting the two families which meet at the playground and the efforts made by the two friends to remain friends and join in their game.
I love the mothers in the background, chatting away, while their children work out their own disagreements for themselves. And in the city backdrop, life moves on with people cycling past, a kite is caught in the tree, a person is helped past in his wheelchair, a squirrel watches the children and people walk their dogs. What a wonderful story to encourage discussion about friendship and compromise, about disagreements and coming together.
Fran Knight