IBBY Review: Off to the Park! by Stephen Cheetham

Off to the Park! by Child's Play International, illustrated by Stephen Cheetham

I Am Not My Disability: Outstanding Books For and About Young People with Disabilities

Every two years, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) chooses outstanding books for and about young people with disabilities. This biennial selection draws attention to books published around the world that address special needs and situations and which encourage inclusion at every level. Outstanding titles, including the one below, become part of The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities. This one-of-a-kind collection is located in Canada at North York Central Library, part of the Toronto Public Library system.

Here is one of the titles from the 2015 list:

Off to the Park!
Illustrated by Stephen Cheetham
(Child’s Play (International) Ltd., 2014)
ISBN 978-1-84643-502-7

Reviewed by Debora Pearson*

The sensory experience of going to the park is imaginatively captured in this board book that is accessible to children with special needs. It can also be enjoyed by those who do not have disabilities.

A variety of textures offer a tactile experience for children who are blind or have low vision. Those textures include a rough, gravelly path, a gate that moves and a soft, white button to press before crossing the road. The path running across the bottom of the park scenes helps orient readers who cannot see; it will help them understand, for instance, that the slide in the playground scene is standing on the ground and is not an object floating in the sky.

The illustrations are clear and bold and the colour palette, which includes purple, pink and turquoise, is fresh and vibrant. The simple rhyming text complements the artwork and replicates the sounds that readers will encounter when they take a real-life trip to the park.

*Debora Pearson is a children’s librarian at North York Central Library, part of the Toronto Public Library system, where The IBBY Collection of Books for Young People with Disabilities is located. Debora works with Leigh Turina, the lead librarian for this collection, and helps promote the collection through social media. She also conducts IBBY collection visits for school classes and youth groups, provides reference support, and assists with the compilation of the collection’s biennial list of outstanding titles.
This review is © Toronto Public Library, 2016.


Read An Introduction to the IBBY Collection for Young People with Disabilities by lead librarian Leigh Turina.

Read MWD’s monthly reviews of books from the Collection.

Visit the Collection’s website to find out more, including how to visit.


  1. What an ingenious little board book! We’ve been trying to make our storytimes and programs more inclusive and welcoming to children with different abilities and needs, and this little book is such a great example of that – making literacy more inclusive benefits everyone!

  2. I am wondering if there are books about people with different abilities that are also LGBTQ+. I love that these books are available and what they provide for readers.

    Secondly, my 3 students (3rd, 4th, and 5th graders) are working on an inquiry project about making parks accessible and fun for people with different abilities and one of the things they want to add to parks is sound paths. For those with little to no vision, the sound path offers specific noises that lead you to specific places in the park when you walk over them. This project has been incredible and I have to show them this book!

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