Author: Donalisa Helsley
Illustrator: Sarah Harkey
Year published: 2011
Publisher: Mirror Publishing
Number of pages: 26
Recommended age: 3+
Son Rating: ★★★★★
Grown-up Rating: ★★★★☆
Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
Summary (from back cover): Jadyn and Genesis want to play together but neither one wants to play what the other wants to. What will they do? Will they be able to brainstorm and find a way to play together? Will they play alone? “The Day No One Played Together” teaches an important lesson in a fun way. Join these sisters in the first of their series.
What it’s about: This book is about two little girls that don’t want to do the same thing and one of the little girls wants to play in the sandbox and the other little girl wants to play in the playhouse. They both figure out something that they both didn’t want to do. Finally they play together and they had fun together.
What I liked and disliked about: I liked all of the pictures and I liked the names of the girls. My favorite name was Jadyn because I have a best friend named Jaiden, but he’s a boy. If I was in the story, I would want to play with my sister. We like playing games together that we make up. I didn’t like how sometimes the pictures looked like the sisters were yelling at each other. I also didn’t like how the girls didn’t want to do stuff with each other – those parts made me feel bad. But then they finally figured out something to do with each other – that made me feel good.
My bottom line: I loved this book and I would recommend it to girls 6 years old and younger. I don’t think boys would like this book because they like more action.
What it’s about: This delightful illustrated children’s book introduces the reader to two sisters, Jadyn and Genesis, who are having trouble negotiating playtime. Each little girl wants to play their own game, but neither wants to really play alone. They learn that through compromise, they can get (mostly) what they want.
What I liked and disliked about it: As any parent with more than one child knows, teaching your children to compromise can be very difficult but, from a parental perspective, it really is essential to survival. Let’s face it, young children think the world revolves around them – they want what they want and they want it now! In The Day No One Played Together, Helsley portrays the consequences of not compromising (i.e., playing alone is not as much fun) and the consequences of compromising (i.e., I get to do what I want and playing with someone else is much more fun). The moral of the story is quite clear and well illustrated and written.
There are lots of really great illustrations in the book and I like how an interracial family is portrayed and featured. I like how the Dad is included in the illustrations; although interestingly, he is disengaged because he is reading the paper and doesn’t contribute to the conversation. Hmmm…
I also really liked the inclusion of a short definitions section which includes some bigger words that younger children may have more difficulty understanding (e.g., “disagree”, “brainstorm”, “compromise”). I think it’s important to introduce a few words that are just beyond your target audience’s understanding – – especially when Mom or Dad are reading the book to a child and can explain the words as they read along.
I have one comment that isn’t meant to be a criticism – just something for the author to think about. I understand that the girls in the book represent the author’s daughters in real life, but the play activities described in the book are mostly gender-specific (i.e., very girlie). For example, the girls’ play includes dressing up and singing, playing with dolls, and playing Mommy. The exception is playing in the sand and building castles. If there was a way to make it slightly more gender-neutral, then I think boys could relate to the story a bit more.
My bottom line: Overall, I think this is a great litte book for young children that introduces a difficult concept in a way that is completely understandable. I would recommend this book to girls aged 3 to 8.
NOTE: Helsley has written another adorable book, I Love You Better Than Chocolate Chip Cookies (2012, Tate Publishing), which I LOVED. We read them both and my son enjoyed both but chose to review The Day No One Played Together. I Love You Better Than Chocolate Chip Cookies features animals instead of humans and is more gender-neutral – there are Dads and Moms and sons and daughters. The Book portrays all the things that love trumps (e.g., rainbow ice cream, hot cocoa, pizza, bubble gum). I also really like that it is ambiguous as to whether it is from the perspective of the parent or the child. Great little book that we all really enjoyed!
** The Day No One Played Together and I Love You Better Than Chocolate Chip Cookies by Donalisa Helsley was provided to us free-of-charge by the author. **
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