Let’s Play by Karen Tyrrell – a review

Today I’m sharing my review of  a lovely new picture book Let’s Play, written by Karen Tyrrell and illustrated by Maddi Gray at Brothers & Co. The book was commissioned by Play Matters Australia and was partially funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

an illustration of children playing

What I like about Let’s Play

The book has instant appeal. Its pages are bursting with vibrancy and joy. Children will love the bright, bold, colourful full-page spreads illustrating children at play with a significant adult. A variety of opportunities for play are presented, including quiet play, boisterous play, messy play, clean play and, of course, reading. I love that it also encourages packing away together as play. Packing away and having a bath, making a cake and walking a dog: these things don’t have to feel like chores. Make them play. Life’s more fun when you play together.

What I especially love about this book is that it invites parents to join in and play with their children. This is so important to children’s development. They need those opportunities to talk, sing, play and learn. It doesn’t matter if you have only a fleeting moment or a longer session, any moments you spend engaged with your child will pay dividends later, not only to your relationship but to their emotional, social and intellectual development.

The importance of play was the reason I held play/educational sessions for children with their parents. I wanted to show parents, not only how enjoyable it could be to play with their children, but how beneficial it would be for their development too. How I wish I’d had a copy of this book back then. Parents want to do the best for their children and this book helps them realise that the best support doesn’t come with expensive gadgets and toys. It is simply a matter of time together, talking, laughing, playing, singing and having fun together.

Another real plus to this book is that the illustrations show parents and children engaged together. Every page encourages them to do things together. Not one page suggests parents abandon their children in front of screens. Instead, it recommends things they can do together.

Although musicality is not one of my strengths, I think the rhythm of the verses in the book may be fitted to the tune of ‘Row, Row, Row Your Boat’. Try it out and see. Let me know if I’m right.

Video reading

Karen reads Let’s Play on her YouTube channel. You can catch it here.

Last thoughts

I’d love to see books like this in the hands of every new parent. How much better prepared for parenting they would be if they knew the importance of play and how to make the most of those early years with their children. If you are looking for a book to gift parents with young children, this is a good place to start. It may not have a lot of words, but it has a very important message.

Well done, Karen Tyrrell and Play Matters Australia.

Find out more about Karen Tyrrell on her website.

Purchase your own copy of Let’s Play from the Play Matters store.

What is Play Matters

Play Matters was founded in Australia in 1973. It ‘supports children and families to build relationships, skills, and confidence through play.’ Find out more on their website.



  1. Karen Tyrrell
    October 20, 2023

    Thanks Norah!
    Thrilled you get my book, LET’S PLAY!
    I love your Review, and I know Play Matters Australia and Children’s Rights Queensland will love it too!
    Karen xx

    • Robin Etter-Cleave
      October 20, 2023

      Love this book! Thank you, Karen and Norah, too!

    • Norah Colvin
      October 22, 2023

      My pleasure, Karen. It’s a great book.

  2. Robin Etter-Cleave
    October 20, 2023

    Love this book! Thanks Karen and Norah, too!

  3. Jennie Fitzkee
    October 21, 2023

    Terrific review, Norah. Yes, imagine if hospitals gave this book to every new parent after giving birth… wow!

    • Norah Colvin
      October 22, 2023

      I agree, Jennie. It would have enormous benefit for parents and child. 🙂

  4. Robbie Cheadle
    October 24, 2023

    Hi Norah, I love the idea of this book, especially families doing fun activities together.

  5. Steve Tyrrell
    October 24, 2023

    Great review Norah. It’s a lovely kids book

  6. Norah Colvin
    October 29, 2023

    It is a lovely book, Debby. Thank you so much for your supportive comment.

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