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Play with Me

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  446 ratings  ·  58 reviews
A little girl goes to the meadow to play, but each animal she tries to catch runs away from her—until she sits still by the pond, and they all come back.
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 30th 1976 by Puffin Books (first published 1955)
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3.93  · 
Rating details
 ·  446 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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It’s a gentle story with a sweet song to sing.

This is like a poem told. It reminds me so much of little kids. They want so bad to love and play with animals they see and they go wildly chasing after them. The animals always run away from them. This book, a little girl asks animal after animal to play with her and they hop away. She gets sad and sits down by the stream and gets quiet. Guess what happens when she got quiet.

I thought the art was a little scary and it looks quickly done. It starts o
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those looking for stories about the appreciation of nature
A little girl tries to catch animals to make friends with them. She realises when she sits still to watch they come to her.

Beautiful illustrations and a lovely simple message of patience, respect and appreciation of nature.

Read on openlibrary.
Jul 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A quiet book and one to sit still with. My daughter, in particular, cherished this book as a toddler. In the midst of such bright, bold, and busy picture books as are often published these days, it seems that a quiet book about being quiet and still hit just the right note. Don't overlook this one! It's on a young child's level for sure.
Kathryn Quinn
Jun 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Twenty-three years later, this is still the book I remember enjoying reading to my young children the most. Read it filled with expression. And now I can't wait to read it to my granddaughter.
Steve Rawson
Aug 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
OK, this is what I listed as my favorite book, so I have to give it five stars. This story is great for reading to little kids, which is the best kind of reading there is, in my opinion (next to being a little kid and getting read to, of course). Will make you happy. The simple, happy story has just a hint of darkness to it, which will not interfere with any child's enjoyment of it.
Jan 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book would be perfect for the one- to two-year-old crowd. The illustrations are nicely done and expressive. The text is nicely repetitive and rhythmic.
Apr 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: preschoolers
This is such a sweet book. A little girl wants to play with the animals, but she learns that by keeping still the animals will come to her.
Scott Hayden
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
Amazing how much an illustrator can accomplish with so few colors.

Hmmm... could I use this to teach my squirrely girls the value of holding still?
Jan 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a sweet story with sweet illustrations. I want to love the story, but I live too close to Yellowstone to be able to get behind the idea of playing with all the woodland creatures.
Nov 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
Marie Hall Ets's writing is a joy. Nine Days to Christmas: A Story of Mexico is one of my favorite Caldecott Medal winners, and Play with Me is cut from the same sweet, simple, emotionally honest cloth, capturing the special moment when a young girl realizes she doesn't have to aggressively seek out new friends; all she needs is to be herself, quiet and observant, and that will eventually bring friends to her. Nothing is more appealing than a companion who shows genuine friendliness and is no th ...more
Cassandra Gelvin
Sep 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Don't touch that chipmunk. You don't know where it's been.

Well, this is a weird book. The drawings are not very high quality, and seem to be stylized to appear as if they were drawn by a child, but with enough skill that you can tell the difference between characters, which is very strange. They are sketch-like and minimalist, except for the animals and girl which are colorized.

Basically, the story is a little girl goes out to the meadow and sees a bunch of animals and insects, and keeps going u
Katie Fitzgerald
A little girl just wants someone to play with, but the animals won’t let her get close enough. Only when she sits down quietly is she able to get them to come to her. This is a gentler and less exuberant version of a similar story told in Ets’s earlier title, In the Forest. I like the illustrations - especially the little girl’s realistic child-like movements, her changing facial expressions, and her reflection in the pond. The story is pretty simple and tame, but it’s the kind of book I would h ...more
LOLOLOLOLOL at this book. It won a Caldecott Honor and it has maybe three colors: white, yellow, and brighter yellow. Seriously, I could have drawn better pictures than this when I was in the third grade. Oh, bygone days of the fifties...I SIT IN JUDGEMENT UPON YOU.

Anyway, this is a nice little story about a girl that wants to play with animals but they all run away from her. Eventually, they return and play with her.

One of the animals she wanted to play with was a snake.

Oct 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lower elementary classrooms
Shelves: edu-511
NY, Puffin, 1955
Even though this is a much older picture book, I found it sweet and appealing. The theme here is about patience and nature. In exploring the woods a little girl wants to interact with the wildlife. She learns at the end that by being very quiet and patient the animals will come out of hiding. I would use this as a picture book for kindergarten and first grade. The repetitive text is nice for pulling students in to contribute. I would have them notice the different animals as they
Erika Gilfether
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a very simple story of a girl walking through the woods asking various animals to play with her. They each run away scared and by the end she has decided to just sit quietly and watch a stream. The animals are eventually attracted to her quiet spot and come to her. Its a perfect entry into conversations about how and when to enter play. This book was published in 1955 - clearly an older book and looks it. However, the girls' motivations are so crystal clear and timeless that any sense of ...more
Stefanie Burns
Jan 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: caldecott-honor
Sweet story with some repetitive text throughout the beginning or the story. A little girl is in a meadow and finds different animals. As she goes to each animal to play with it, it goes away. After all have been chased away, she sits down by the pond. Before she knows they all come out and sit with her. She sits still as can be as to not frighten them.

The illustrations are sketched with black and fillies in with greens and yellows. It's simple, but matches the tone of the story perfectly. Youn
Honestly, I was not impressed by this book. I know little kid's books are supposed to be repetitive so they can learn, but this book just got annoying. I also didn't like the illustrations. The book won a 1956 Caldecott Honor, but the selections that year weren't the best, in my opinion. The story is about a little girl who wants to play with the animals of the forest, but every time she approaches them, they run away. It's not until she settles down and is quiet that they all come back. Recomme ...more
Maria Rowe
• 1956 Caldecott Honor Book •

This is a sweet little book about a little girl who wants to play with animals like a turtle, snake, chipmunk, etc. but when she gets too close they run away. But when she sits really still and quiet they come up to her and want to play. I like the illustrations but didn’t love them. The girl’s face was a tad creepy to me, and the lurking sun didn’t help. I liked how the animals were illustrated though.

Materials used: unlisted
Typeface used: Foundry Stellar Light
Becky B
A little girl tries to get various critters to play with her, but they all run away. That is until she sits down and holds still, then she finds the animals coming back to join her in her quietness.

Some of these older Caldecott winners and honor books can be quite odd and/or not translate well, but the concept in this one is pretty timeless. We've all seen and been the child trying to get the fascinating wild creature to come closer. The illustrations are simple, but not uninviting. I can see so
May 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
A little girl approaches many forest animals asking them if they will play with her and they all walk, jump, slither, fly etc. away. When the girl sits quietly beside the pond they all come back. A simple story with a simple framework and line drawings with shading and some color highlights on the animals. The girl is featured with an apricot skintone and blond hair. I liked looking for the sun in each picture. It seemed to follow her through the book and it's gaze was always warm and friendly.
A Caldecott Honor Award winning story book. And an old one at that. I definitely didn't want to like this one. It is clearly showing it's age. From it's art to it's text, to even the repeatedness of the text. But the story wins out. A modern version of this would be even better. But still it captures a curious young girl at play outside. And has a certain calmness to it. As well as scientific observer's eye.
This book had an almost sad beginning, I felt sorry for the little girl who just wanted someone to play with but all the animals were running away. Don't worry though, the book had a very happy ending, one that was sweet and made you smile. The illustrations were a little lacking, but I'd probably still recommend this book.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
This is an example of a book I loved as a child but can't imagine a child loving today. A young girl is lonely and looking for a playmate. She asks all the creatures she meets in a field but they'll run away from her. Her loneliness is palpable; will she ever make a connection? The illustrations are pencil against a light yellow wash.
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
I was not particularly fond of the illustration of the girl's face in the story, or the fact that every page illustration had the same compositional feel.
However I enjoyed the repetition/pattern to the story. My 2.5 year old really enjoyed reading with me.
Oct 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
Sweet and simple... Reminds the (adult) reader of a much simpler era. I see the value in the "moral of the story" - be patient, be gentle and quiet around animals, etc.- but from a modern child's perspective I think the storyline is dull and dated.
Kristine Hansen
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A sweet book about being quiet and gentle with the creatures around us. I liked how everything came to the girl when she quit trying so hard, chasing everything around her. A very valuable lesson and a pleasant introduction to nature.
Silvia Ribeiro Eisenmann
Jun 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lesson on how to play with animals
Seema Rao
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
A simple tale that shows and tells about the joys of playing (and of the pleasures of childhood.)
May 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was one of my favorite books as a child--and it still is!
Robert Davis
**** Caldecott Honor (1956) ****

Nice little story of a girl learning to commune with nature. The pictures are a little rough, but sweet nonetheless.
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