Spy Toys by Mark Powers, illus. Tim Weeson. Pub. Bim UK imprint Allen&Unwin, 2017
I am very impressed with this new series that is designed for reluctant readers both boys and girls of primary/intermediate age.
In a phrase it is like the cartoon network without the cartoons. Bizarre, witty with a tight and sharp dialogue exchange between the highly imaginative characters.
The plot and characters revolve around rejected and defective high tech toys from the Snaztacular Ultrafun toy factory. Dan is a cuddly bear who is so strong he can crush a tractor with his cuddles, Arabella, a rag doll with an attitude to burn and sympathy for no-one and Flax a highly aggressive rabbit with a down beat wit.
The toys are all discarded because they are defective but escape into the World and are captured then hired by Auntie Roz from the Department of Secret Affairs to bodyguard the Prime Ministers son from Rusty Flumptrunk a very bad half Elephant half human nasty.
Brilliant stuff with Tim Weeson’s animation filling in the gaps.
I was spellbound and read the short book in one sitting with a smile all over my face. It is great.The first chapter about Dan is called If Hugs Could kill and it sets the tone of the book immediately. Big font makes reading easy.
If you want your reluctant readers particularly boys to read, these are a great start.
Written text in a picture book does not get any more minimalistic than in this second book from Swedish husband and wife team Lena and Olof Landstrom but the illustrations have much to tell even though they are as simple as the text.
Pom’s day is boring and he hurls Pim his 4 legged, pinky, round cuddly toy with two eyes, into the air. A dog with a red collar hurtles through the air to take him away but where.
Pom and identical dog with blue collar go looking for Pim. There is a paper bag, a wet sock and a drink can to investigate. Pom is tearful but hope is at large as red collar dog turns up with Pim, brighteyed and bushy tailed.
Water colour illustrations are perfect. Love Pom’s knitted neck to knee cardigan with four buttons. My granddaughters thought the red collared dog was mean to take Pim away.