Ann Stott (text), and Bob Graham (illustrator), Want to Play Trucks?, Walker Books Australia, August 2018, 32 pp., RRP $24.99 (hbk), ISBN 9780763681739
Ice-cream – it brings everyone together!
Want to Play Trucks? is a simple, gentle story of two little boys. Jack, who likes to play with trucks that can wreck things, and Alex, who prefers dolls in sparkly, pink tutus. They meet almost every morning at the sand pit, while their caregivers (presumably mums) catch up with a coffee and a chat.
While they seem to have very disparate interests, Jack and Alex play together quite happily (most of the time), as they extoll the virtues of their preferred toys and make compromises where necessary. However, there is one thing that they absolutely agree on. Ice-cream is the best!
Addressing gender stereotypes and diversity in a subtle and accessible way, Want to Play Trucks? is perfect as a read aloud for young children between the ages of 3 and 5. Ann Stott tells the story in a simple and clear manner, and as always, Bob Graham’s illustrations provide plenty of background details to enhance the tale. My favourite page is the spread at the end, when the boys wave goodbye for the day, under a haze of autumnal orange leaves, however young readers will love earlier pages, spotting small details like the pink kite in the tree and the man carrying his dog (on his head!). Diverse characters including a woman wearing a hijab and elderly gentleman being pushed in a wheelchair can also be sighted strolling in the background.
A story about compromise, inclusivity and imaginative play, Want to Play Trucks? is definitely one to include in the home collection or early childhood library.