Can I Play Too?
|Series:||Elephant and Piggie|
This beginning reader focuses on differently abled animals as Elephant and Piggy get ready for a game of catch. Before they begin, Snake asks to join them. Simple gestures and facial expressions convey Elephant's embarrassment at Snake's inability to catch a ball. Piggy breaks the silence stating, "You don't have arms!" and Snake dejectedly slithers away. On the next page, Snake diffuses his rejection by saying, "Hee-hee! Ha-ha! Hee-hee! Ha-ha! Hee-hee! I know I do not have arms./I am a snake." Elephant asks, "But can a snake play catch?" The story moves from clever to cruel as Elephant throws the ball and hits Snake on the head, and the reptile's expressions indicate distress. Piggy follows suit, with the same result. Then Elephant decides, "Maybe we need more balls," and the next spread shows Elephant and Piggy bombarding Snake with balls, each one hitting him with a "BONK!" and Snake upside down in anguish. Then Piggy gets the idea to use Snake as the ball. Snake happily says, "Whee!" to which Piggy replies, "I love playing catch with my friends!" While all ends on a positive note, Jeanne Willis's Susan Laughs (Holt, 2000) and Grace Maccarone's The Gym Day Winner (Scholastic, 1996) offer more respectful treatments of inclusion. SLJ"