Review of "We All Play" by Julie Flett.
Author and illustrator Julie Flett attributes her love for the land, animals, and all of nature to the gentle heart of her Cree-Métis father, Clarence Flett (1936-2019). In an author note, she explains, “When I was growing up, my dad shared a lot about our relationship to animals and to each other, including the land, plants, beetles, the earth, wind, water, and sky. Whether we are running and hopping through the grass or rolling along the street or pondering creatures in the creek, we are all connected, living in relationship and in care to one another, in kinship.”
Flett’s joyful, exuberant illustrations and sparse, poetic text capture the Cree-Métis vision which nurtured her childhood and understanding of creation. Her deep delight in playful animals and children reverberates throughout this picture book: “Animals hide / and hop / and sniff / and sneak / and peek / and peep. / We play too! / kimêtawânaw mîna. / Animals swim / and squirt / and bubble / and bend / and chase / and chirp. / We play too! / kimêtawânaw mîna.” As a group of children from different ethnic backgrounds romp and play, rabbits, foxes, a turtle, owlets, belugas, seals, and other animals each contribute their own play-dance routine.
We All Play is a jubilant romp that children are sure to enjoy again and again. Christian parents and caregivers who share this book with the children in their care have an excellent opportunity to point to our Creator God as revealed in the Bible — God, who made all things, including children and animals, and called them good!
The book includes a glossary of Cree names for each of the animals depicted on its pages and an audio pronunciation guide for the Cree words. We All Play can be found online.