Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cybils Nominee: Toys Come Home

Some books defy classification, and Toys Come Home is one of them. It's been nominated for the Cybils' Early Chapter Books category, but like many classic children books it appeals to a much wider audience. The story is a prequel to two previous books, Toys Go Out and Toy Dance Party. These books slipped under my radar, so I haven't read them. Rest assured, I will make up for that pronto.

All three books feature a trio of toy friends (two plush, one rubber): StingRay, a bit of a bossy boots; Lumphy, a brave buffalo; and Plastic, a hyper bouncy red ball. Toys Come Home relates how the three toys become friends in six easy-to-read chapters. In this made-up world, toys can communicate with one another and can move, but only when people aren't around. In spite of this restriction, the trio of friends have plenty of adventures. After a few difficult nights in her new home, StingRay runs away, ending up in the basement. She also rescues Sheep (my favorite character--a very old pull toy whose life ambition is to chew grass), from a thorny rosebush. Lumphy bravely defends some plush mice from the antics of an all-too-real kitten, and Plastic posits existential questions--such as "Why are we here?'--that keep her friends up nights searching for answers.

This amazing book by the talented Emily Jenkins (whose Invisible Inkling is also up for a Cybil in the same category) is perfect for beginning readers and would make a wonderful read-aloud for younger children. I wager older elementary-school kids would appreciate it as well, that is, if they aren't too embarrassed to be caught reading a book about toys. Paul O. Zelinsky's full-page black-and-white illustrations are sprinkled throughout. The detailed, realistic renderings add immensely to the story's charm.

Toys Come Home
by Emily Jenkins
illustrations by Paul O. Zelinsky
Schwartz & Wade Books, 144 pages
Published: 2011

This book was nominated for the 2011 Cybils Awards in the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. I am a first-round panelist in this category, and this review reflects my opinion only.

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't heard of this book, either, but it looks really interesting...and I love the cover illustration. Very unique! Going to be making a trip to B&N this week to get a birthday present for a soon-to-be 7-year-old, so will see if they have this one. Thanks for the review!