Please Play Safe!

The title alone was enough for me to grab it off of the shelf.  I just had to see how anyone could take this topic and make it fun for kids.  As I soon discovered once we opened it yesterday morning, my cynical notions were almost completely unfounded.   

*Illustrator Will Hillenbrand's characters are delightful to look at and seem to be perfectly poised for future use in other books Margery Cuyler and he collaborate on (it sounds like there might be at least one other one out already)
*My son loved when I spoke the word "boink" -- thanks to the author for helping me discover this -- so I just substituted it for every remaining sound effect in the story
*I liked how the penguin (with his black and white coloring) is the referee with a whistle

*It's a tad long (my son lost interest about 2/3 of the way through), but it's probably necessary to cover all of the key playground pointers
*While each example is very different, a lot of them revolve around ways a kid, or in this case animal, can hurt another kid physically -- maybe some nod to things like stealing toys or saying mean things should have been included
*Putting the chimpanzee on the monkey bars was a little too easy

You know, you've gotta hand it to the author.  I never would have thought a book on children's safety could read any better than those awful brochures you see lying around at the pediatrician's office. But P.P.S. is actually quite entertaining given the subject matter. So, while I cannot outright recommend it, I will give my seal of approval for any family having trouble with a mini playground bully/spaz living under their roof.                                                

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