Playtime with Ted. Sophy Henn. Illustrations by Sophy Henn. 2017. Bloomsbury Children. 10 pages.
“Playtime with Ted” is a simple but sweet story by Sophy Henn showing the different ways in which a little boy called Ted plays with an old cardboard box. The book provides a beautiful insight into the creative mind of a child and the humble cardboard box swiftly changes with each turn of the page and is in turn a train, a digger and much more! Adults reading the book will identify with Ted’s mum who can’t quite guess what Ted is up to and needs him to explain each time.
The illustrations, also by Sophy Henn, are eye-catching in their simplicity and don’t detract from the story. Bright colours radiate from each page and the fuzzy edges look like the pictures have been drawn with crayon. It’s really important to me that ThisBoy can see a diverse range of characters in his books and so I was thrilled to find that Ted looks an awful lot like he does!
It’s a lovely size for little hands and feels very sturdy. At just over two years old, ThisBoy is currently a huge fan of lift-the flap books , however, despite this I was surprised to find that he wasn’t that interested in the flaps on this book. As the whole page lifts open to show what Ted is imagining, there is less of a “peak-a-boo” element and so perhaps is better appreciated by the adult reading the book for its inventiveness.
Bloomsbury have an activity pack that you can download directly from their website, which is a nice touch. With only a couple of pages to colour in and a reward chart (related to the companion book “Bedtime with Ted”), however, it seems like a missed opportunity: http://media.bloomsbury.com/rep/files/ted_activity_pack.pdf
Mum’s score: 3 out of 5
The story was clever but with only a handful of words on each page it’s a little too simplistic to be a bedtime story for ThisBoy and is better suited to a younger child.
ThisBoy’s score: 2 out of 5
It’s not one he requests at bedtime but he does like pointing out all the toy animals that Ted takes with him on his adventures and making the sounds (“Crocodile! Snap! Snap!”)