cover image Too Many Toys!

Too Many Toys!

Heidi Deedman. Candlewick, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7861-6

Deedman’s debut covers a familiar problem: the untidy flood of playthings in the child-centered household. “When Lulu was a baby, she was given a very special one-and-only toy,” a teddy bear named Jupiter. Jupiter stays by Lulu’s side as she grows, and he regards her piles of holiday gifts with a judgmental, thought-balloon “uh-oh!” By the time Lulu celebrates her fifth birthday, “her shelves were full. Her toy box wouldn’t close.” Dolls and stuffed animals crowd her breakfast table, bathtub, and bedroom, and Christmas only makes matters worse. Deedman uses ink, watercolor, and digital media to craft endearingly simple figures, and she combats clutter with a balance of strong and delicate colors. Lulu’s pumpkin-hued hair, red tunic, and blue leggings, as well as Jupiter’s ochre fur, stand out against pale backgrounds and heaps of possessions in muted taupe and putty gray. Lulu comes across as a reasonable child: “What are we going to do, Jupiter?” she wonders. “I can’t play with everybody!” Her philanthropic solution, the Great Toy Giveaway, may not be embraced by every reader, yet it serves as a practical conversation-starter. Ages 4–6. (Oct.)