Toys Go Out

Emily Jenkins, Author, Paul Zelinsky, Illustrator
Emily Jenkins, Author, Paul Zelinsky, Illustrator , illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky. Random/Schwartz & Wade $16.95 (116p) ISBN 978-0-375-83604-6
Reviewed on: 10/30/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
Library Binding - 116 pages - 978-0-375-93604-3
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4561-0034-6
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4178-2836-4
Open Ebook - 45 pages - 978-0-307-56073-5
Paperback - 117 pages - 978-0-385-73661-9
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As delightfully quirky as its subtitle, "Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic"), this buoyant chapter book relays the adventures (one per chapter) of a trio of toys. As the tale opens, Lumphy (a plush buffalo), StingRay (a stuffed fish) and Plastic (who, in a quasi-mystery plot thread, discovers that she is a rubber ball) thump along in a dark backpack. The three worry about where they might be headed ("The Girl doesn't love us and she's trying to get rid of us!")—perhaps to the vet (who will poke them "over and over with needles the size of carrots") or to the zoo (where they will have to live "each one in a separate cage")—only to find themselves at school as the Little Girl's show-and-tell. Their humorous dialogue may feel to readers much like eavesdropping on the playground (when Plastic says of dental floss, "Maybe it feels nice.... You never know until you try," Lumphy replies, "I know without trying"). The omniscient narrator also chimes in with wry comments (e.g., a description of StingRay, "who sometimes says she knows things when she doesn't"). Supporting characters include a "bumpity washing machine" named Frank, who serenades a fearful peanut-buttery Lumphy through the wash cycle, and kind TukTuk the towel who helps Plastic in his self-discovery. Zelinsky's half-tone illustrations depict the most dramatic moment in each episode from the toy's eye–view. Together, author and artist take an entertaining look at identity, friendship and belonging. Ages 7-11. (Sept.)

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