Friday, July 5, 2013

Toys in space by Mini Grey

I've been in a blah mood about the stacks of picture books I've been reading lately. Nothing wrong with them, just...bland. Nothing unique, nothing stand-out.

Then Toys in Space arrived in my mailbox (or, rather, on my desk at work. I have minions.)

Mini Grey is always unique and stand-out. Her stories don't always work exactly for my audience, but they're always different! A lot of them, like the Traction Man series, deal with toys and this one is the same. In this story, the toys awake to find that they have been left behind, outside, at night for the first time. At first, they're awed by the amazing night sky, but then they start to get scared and nervous and worried. Fortunately, WonderDoll knows just what to do; tell a story. In her story, the toys are taken into space by aliens who turn out to be quite a bit like ordinary human children, especially since they're just looking for their own lost toys. The (suspiciously glove-like) alien treats them to a party, the toys help return all missing toys the world over, and they get back to their yard just in time.

The illustrations are laid out with the space adventure overlaying the toys lying in the backyard, so children can clearly see which part of the story is "real" and which is the story the WonderDoll is telling. The toys have Mini Grey's inimitable style, with bulging eyes and stiff, frozen forms in the "real" world as they wait to be played with and exuberant movement in their imaginative world.

Verdict: This may not be the best read-aloud, especially for a younger group, since it requires a certain amount of sophistication to catch on to the story and there's multiple speech bubbles in addition to the text, but older children will enjoy this latest addition to Grey's repertoire and if you have Toy Story fans they're sure to pick up the idea quickly and enjoy the clever storytelling.

ISBN: 9780307978127; Published May 2013 by Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Purchased for the library

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