I Am Not a Dog Toy

Random. Mar. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780593119013.
PreS-Gr 2–At a birthday gathering with presents, a small stuffed brown bear (sporting a stylish vest full of pockets) announces himself to be the “most favorite toy ever” and subsequently finds himself casually tossed into the dog’s water dish by the unimpressed birthday girl, shown with black hair and light brown skin. A variety of small and large images enhance the narrative with brightly colored digital scenes, as a patient and thoughtful big white dog presents a different viewpoint, promising to play with the bear and love him in his special dog way. But the bear refuses all offers of friendship, and repeatedly attempts to engage his kid. The dog insists he is “totally a dog toy” and proves it with a whirlwind of playful moves across the room. Seconds later, the girl callously drops the bear into the wedge of lost toys between her bed and the wall. It takes a heroic reach behind the bed to rescue the bear before he disappears with all the other mangled, useless toys. That’s when the bear finally realizes that the one who wants to be his best friend (and appreciates his pocket vest) is the dog. A recommended general purchase for all libraries, this examination of a growing relationship from a viewpoint closer to the floor underscores what creates an important bond between friends.
VERDICT Featuring one of the most thoughtless heroines seen in recent picture books, this sneakily adorable tale may offer readers a glimpse of their own behavior in their rushes to judgement over potential playmates and friends.

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