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June 2, 2015

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Pick of the Day: Toys in Space

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many mythical creatures, space backgroundGREY, Mini. Toys in Space. illus. by author. 32p. Knopf. 2013. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97812-7; PLB $19.99. ISBN 978-0-307-97815-8.
K-Gr 2
–In this wonderfully offbeat story-within-a-story, a little boy forgets his toys in the garden. Afraid of spending the night outside, the toys ask WonderDoll, leader of the bunch, to tell them a tale as a distraction. WonderDoll spins an exciting yarn about the Hoctopize, an alien who collects abandoned toys aboard his ship while searching for his own lost Cuddles. When the alien beams up WonderDoll and company, captivating adventures commence. The toys help the Hoctopize realize that his captives should be returned home and throw him a party to cheer him up, which lasts until dawn. Clever layouts of the cartoonish but highly expressive illustrations divide the action of WonderDoll’s story from the toys’ reactions. While WonderDoll’s narrative occupies the larger part of the spreads, the toys’ hilarious speech-balloon commentary is relegated to a smaller sidebar. This picture book is for fans of Grey’s previous quirky stories or other animate toy adventures such as the longer Emily Jenkins’s Toys Go Out (Random, 2006) or Michael Rosen’s Red Ted and the Lost Things (Candlewick, 2009).–Yelena Alekseyeva-Popova, formerly at Chappaqua Library, NY

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