Teddy & Co.
Cynthia Voigt, illus. by Paola Zakimi. Knopf, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-553-51160-4
Voigt (the Mister Max books) delivers a warm, subtle novel about the big-hearted adventures of a group of toys living on an island. Spare but astute character development quickly establishes Voigt’s cast, which includes Sid, a perpetually hungry snake; Umpah, an elephant with a penchant for muffin-baking; and Peng, an introverted penguin. Teddy stands firmly at the center, a hopeful wonderer who relies on his friends to push him around in his red wagon, having no legs. Voigt tenderly highlights the friends’ cooperation when they take Teddy to explore new terrain outdoors and figure out how to let him enjoy the water while Prinny, an irrepressible pig, learns how to swim. When a seemingly sinister rabbit, Mr. B, arrives, followed by a doll named Clara who proclaims herself queen, the equilibrium of the group is threatened, but Teddy and friends quickly bring the outsiders into the fold. It’s an affirming celebration of friendship, kindness, and embracing new experiences and relationships. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/26/2016