Playtime for Restless Rascals

by Nikki Grimes (Author) Elizabeth Zunon (Illustrator)

Playtime for Restless Rascals
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

Time to get to work, little one, I tell you. What work? you ask. Like always, you pretend not to understand. Your job is called Play, I say. Mom needs to wake up her child whose job is to play. From dancing in puddles to jumping in leaves, and swinging high enough to almost reach the sun, there's so much to do in a fun-filled day.

For those seeking children's books about diversity, this loving depiction of everyday shenanigans is sure to become a story time favorite. Playtime for Restless Rascals is an African American children's book that celebrates imagination, playful moments, and the love between parents and child.

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Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review
A stunning, warm story about the many ways that play sparks joy.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

PreS-Gr 1--Grimes phenomenally describes the daily play of a young energetic girl whose activities move throughout her world and the seasons. Readers understand play through the eyes of a young child exploring her surroundings and making work fun in multiple indoor and outdoor activities. Baking cakes and serving tea, creating and dressing a snowwoman, and building trains and trucks exemplify the wonders of early childhood's creative play. Grimes frames this story in the loving home of a mother and father who genuinely care for their daughter; her parents sacrifice their time to encourage the playfulness of their daughter, knowing that her work allows her expertise to shine and grow. Zunon's illustrations are outstanding, adding to the brilliant world of the restless little one. These images allow readers to glimpse the texture of the sun's radiance and the beauty of nature's background in the park. The patterns of the items and animals align with the colorful backgrounds enhancing the storytelling; even the vibrant words and font size lift this story to new heights. VERDICT Grimes crafts an outstanding story igniting a passion for play while mirroring its relationship to authentic work and the fundamental elements of true productivity: lunch, naptime, and winning.--Tanya Haynes

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"This is a beautiful and lighthearted celebration of young families. Highly recommended as a gift for new parents and for lapsit storytimes" — Youth Services Book Review, STARRED review
Nikki Grimes
Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the ALA Notable book What Is Goodbye?, as well as the novels Jazmin's Notebook, Dark Sons, and The Road to Paris, all of them Coretta Scott King Author Honor Books. She won the Coretta Scott King Author Award for Bronx Masquerade. Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California. Visit Nikki at

Laura Freeman has illustrated many fine children's books over the years, including Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe, written by Deborah Blumenthal, and the Coretta Scott King Honor book Hidden Figures: The True Story of Four Black Women and the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly and Winifred Conkling. Laura lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and their two children. Find out more about Laura at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
September 06, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV015010 - Juvenile Fiction | Health & Daily Living | Daily Activities
JUV051000 - Juvenile Fiction | Imagination & Play
JUV013060 - Juvenile Fiction | Family | Parents
Library of Congress categories

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