A toy manufacturer has developed a formula for toys which have a computerized brain. The toys that leave the factory are awesome, but only for the wealthy children. Occasionally a faulty toy is detected on the conveyer belt, and it is either used for spare parts, or dismantled completely. This is a story about three toys who are not just like every other toy, but despite faults, and many mistakes and adventures, they find a happy life together.
The first toy we meet is Dan, the bear. His job is to comfort children and give them special hugs. Unfortunately something has gone wrong with Dan’s mechanics and he crushed the test dummy he hugged. He needs to learn to be gentle. The next is a rag doll, called Arabella, who has crossed wires and is very aggressive and nasty. She shares her plan to escape with Dan, and they successfully leave the factory. They haven’t gone far when they are caught up in a net by a toy rabbit. He accuses them of trying to steal from him, but just then robot police come looking for the lost toys.
They are taken back to headquarters where they are interviewed. It seems the rabbit is a robot policeman in disguise and has many talents. There are two courses of action to be taken. The toys can be destroyed, or work together on a mission. The mission is to be bodyguards to the Prime Minister’s son, who is lonely, but also vulnerable, while he is on holidays. The toys jump at the idea of being body guards and companions.
It is here they have to learn to adapt to their strengths and weaknesses. They struggle, fail a few times, and get into trouble a few times, but it is all a learning journey for them. For those of us who have imperfections, changing the way we think and act, can have an impact. The toys will always be flawed, but they come to accept that, and work with the talents that they have. There is humour and adventure and originality in this story that young children will be drawn to. The text is simple, with interesting illustrations and use of spaces to break up the pages. An emerging reader would enjoy this as a read alone or having it read to him/her.
After all, who could resist a rabbit who is “Designed to be superior….but a few lettuce leaves short of a caesar salad”.
|Author||Mark Powers: Illustrator Tim Wesson|