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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Jake Hedgehog loves to play with his friends, especially his best friend Sam. They play together all the time and have sleepovers during weekends. One day Sam gets a new phone and is busy with it. Jake wants to play with him but it seems like Sam is not interested in playing with Jake anymore. Jake is sad and lonely, and he thinks of getting himself a phone but his mother does not agree with it. The next day in school during recess he sees Sam's backpack sitting on his seat. Jake takes Sam's phone and puts it in his bag even though he knows it is wrong. After recess when Sam comes to class, he realizes his phone is missing. After class, Jake goes to Mrs. Brown and tells her the truth. Will Sam forgive him?
Because I Wanted To Play With You: A Book About Friendship and Digital Devices by Tamiko Pettee tackles the topic of how digital devices can get in the way of friendships and cause distractions in life. It is a relevant topic and the author weaves the importance of friendships into the story seamlessly. The illustrations are adorable and they make the characters and story palpable to young readers. It is a good story that will help children prioritize things in life. I like the way the author knits several good messages into the story. Many children will be able to relate to Sam and Jake, and that makes this story perfect for read aloud sessions in classrooms and school libraries as it will help children realize that friendships can survive if phones are left behind. It is a good book for parents and grandparents to read to their kids and grandkids to realize the problems digital addiction can cause. This simple story with powerful messages is good for adults as well, and will guide them on how to use digital technology appropriately.