Can I Play? is a picturebook about cute little creatures called Bubblíns, whose job it is to fill the world with colour. The story follows a young Bubblín called Ben as he begins nursery school.
The illustrations are very simple pencil sketches that use bright colours and shading. Their simplicity is their main attraction as Darby manages to convey significant emotional depth through characters that have no discernible facial features other than two dots for eyes and rosy cheeks. Darby’s use of colour further reflects the Bubblín’s emotions as we see Ben slowly drain of colour as he becomes lonely and sad.
The reader empathises with Ben and his feelings of loneliness at being excluded from games by the other children in his nursery. The story emphasises the importance of being yourself and not forgetting about what makes you happy. It will be a reassuring read for any young child who is about to start nursery or playschool where they have to make friends.