FICTION

Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey

illus. by author. unpaged. Random. May 2012. Tr $16.99. ISBN 978-0-224-08364-5; PLB $19.99. ISBN 978-0-375-96952-2. LC number unavailable.
COPY ISBN
RedReviewStarGr 2–4—Children who are into action figures, those who can easily slide into the flow of a fragmented story, and fans of the previous titles will undoubtedly be attracted to this tale about the square-jawed Traction Man and his sidekick, Scrubbing Brush. This title finds the duo dashing through a variety of adventures at the beach. Told by an omniscient narrator and through the conversations of various characters, the story dips and swerves and introduces the Dollies, who become playmates for the toys, and whose owner becomes a new friend for the boy. Splashy front and back endpapers, devoted to advertisements for Brenda Magazine, foreshadow the meeting and the beach pail that Traction Man and Scrubbing Brush ride in. At first put off by the Dollies' fussing and girly style of play, they join forces when disaster strikes their sand castle and the toys team up for more creative and daring play. Grey fills the spreads with color and action, providing plenty of high jinks and hilarious happenings.—Barbara Elleman, Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA
Once again Grey's action-figure hero and his sidekick Scrubbing Brush inhabit the fanciful world-within-a-world of creative play, this time heading to the beach--for a manly day of scuba diving, picnic security duty, and...makeovers? Grey takes obvious delight in poking fun at Traction Man's machismo by dressing him in a pink sarong and plunking him into a party with some Beach-Time Brenda dolls.
The adventuresome duo from Traction Man Is Here! (rev. 3/05) and Traction Man Meets Turbodog (rev. 9/08) hits the beach for a manly day of scuba diving, picnic security duty, and...makeovers? Once again Grey's action-figure hero and his sidekick Scrubbing Brush inhabit the fanciful world-within-a-world of creative play. Though the boy who totes the pair along in his beach bag is nominally in control of their actions, once they're underwater exploring a tide pool, or left alone together on the picnic blanket, they take on lives of their own. Traction Man's valiant campaign to keep Grandma's dog Truffles away from lunch while the family swims comes to naught when Truffles carries him off and buries him in the sand. Scrubbing Brush digs Traction Man out, but then a wave whisks them both away, landing them in the clutches of another young beachgoer, who has her own ideas of how to play. Grey takes obvious delight in poking fun at Traction Man's machismo by dressing him in a pink sarong and plunking him into an ice-cream party with some Beach-Time Brenda dolls. As usual, the wry cartoon art is teeming with animate characters -- even the picnic quiche has a face. In the end, there's a refreshingly gender-neutral pooling of resources as Beach-Time Brenda and her pal help the boys dig an "exploration hole to the Center of the Earth," after which the whole crew floats happily on a "pinkly paisley inflatable dinghy." Relaxation accomplished! christine m. heppermann

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