Friday, April 9, 2010

Benny and Penny in The Toy Breaker by Geoffrey Hayes

It's always delightful when a good series stays good. Geoffrey Hayes, (author of one of my favorite childhood books Patrick Eats His Dinner, which I would love to have my own copy of but the paperback price is currently $562. Sigh.) has written his third in the award-winning Toon series, Benny and Penny.

Benny and Penny, two delightfully realistic siblings, have weathered the storms of playing together and meeting a new friend. Now they have to deal with....The Toy Breaker.

The Toy Breaker is their cousin and he just doesn't play nicely! He's rough and mean and he teases! Not to mention breaking toys! Is there a way they can play with Cousin Bo? Or is he just too mean?

One of the things I love about the Benny and Penny series is that Hayes doesn't trivialize or simplify children's developing social relationships. Yes, Cousin Bo is mean and he teases. But a lot of the damage is caused by Benny and Penny trying to hide and hold on to their toys. On the other hand, Bo's teasing really does hurt the two siblings. The solution isn't a lesson in getting along or forced on them by the outside intervention of an adult; the micelings come up with their own solution, where everyone gives a little and makes up for hurting each other.

As in the previous volumes, the art is adorable but not too cutesy with plenty of facial expressions to expand the dialogue and a clear progression of the story through the panels.

Verdict: Our library patrons can look forward to another winner with Benny and Penny and I can't wait to pass it out when it's released!

ISBN: 978-1935179078; Published April 2010 by Toon Books; Review copy provided by the publisher; Purchased for the library

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