Review Blog

Oct 27 2011

Tin toys by Bruce Whatley

cover image

Ill. by Ben Smith Whatley. Random House, 2011. ISBN 978 1 86471 991 8.
This story takes place on Christmas Eve in a toyshop where while the shop keeper snoozes in his chair the 'older' toys are chatting - the ones who didn't come with flash poster promotions and gimmicks to promote sales. They were discussing the Space Ride, a toy that once was the star attraction but long ago had lost the key to crank it up to work. The toys had tried many different keys, kindly donated by other toys but with no success. The new toys, particularly Megabot, didn't understand the fascination with the Space Ride however, grudgingly, he agreed to help the toys get the only key they hadn't tried, the one that hung from a watch chain on the shopkeeper's waistcoat.
As the mission to retrieve the key began more toys became interested and involved in what was happening. All was going well until the shopkeeper stirred and was alarmed by the toys being so close to him - their mission looking like it had unsuccessful. However all was not lost and the toys agreed 'it was the best Christmas ever'.
The end papers perfectly capture the three key elements of the story. The illustrations are bold in colour and reflect the age of the toys with excellent recreation of the old tin toys that use to be a treasured possession of young children in times gone by. The use of shadows in the illustrations helps to create the focus and suspense of what is taking place and assist the reader, particularly on pages with little text. This is a lovely collaboration between a talented author and his son.
Tracy Glover

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