Great Illustrated Books

Toys Go Out

By Emily Jenkins, Illustrated by Paul Zelinsky

Schwartz & Wade, 2006
Pages : 128
Suggested Ages: 5-9
ISBN: 9780375836046

Inside the backpack, where it's dark and smells like a wet bathing suit, Lumphy the buffalo feels cramped, StingRay is trying to think calming thoughts, and Plastic is humming, which she does when she's feeling nervous. Where is the Little Girl with the blue barrette taking them? StingRay worries that they're heading to the vet or the zoo or the dump, and that the Girl doesn't love them anymore. Then the Little Girl takes them out of her backpack at school and introduces them for show-and-tell as her best friends in the world. In six sweet but never saccharine chapters, told in the present tense, and accompanied with winsome pencil illustrations, the three toys leave the Little Girl's bedroom and have small but significant adventures. Plastic finds out from TukTuk, the towel in the bathroom, what it means to be plastic. Lumphy goes on a picnic, gets peanut butter on himself, and meets Frank, the Washing Machine in the basement, who takes care of the problem. And StingRay, miffed at not being taken to the beach with Little Girl, decides to try floating in the bathtub, even though her tag says "dry clean only."

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If you love this book, then try:

DiCamillo, Kate. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Candlewick, 2006.

Grey, Mini. Traction Man Is Here! Knopf, 2005.

Jenkins, Emily. Toy Dance Party: Being the Further Adventures of a Bossyboots Stingray, a Courageous Buffalo, & a Hopeful Round Someone Called Plastic. Schwartz & Wade, 2008.

Manushkin, Fran. The Shivers in the Fridge. Dutton, 2006.

Martin, Ann M. The Doll People. Hyperion, 2000.

Martin, Ann M. The Meanest Doll in the World. Hyperion, 2003.

Milne, A. A. Winnie-the-Pooh. Dutton, 1926.

Williams, Margery. The Velveteen Rabbit, or, How Toys Become Real. Doubleday, 1922.

Critics have said

From meditating on the scary unknown (washing machines) to understanding what makes an individual special, Jenkins gives readers an early chapter book with plenty of delightful insights, well-thought-out details, and loving affection for her characters. Here is a book bound to be a favorite with any child who has ever adored an inanimate object. Zelinskys beautifully detailed black-and-white illustrations are a lovely addition to this very special book.
Publishers WeeklySchool Library Journal
The simple prose is clever and often hilarious, incorporating dialogue and musings that ring kid-perspective true, and Zelinsky's charming black-and-white illustrations, wonderfully detailed and textured, expressively portray character situations and feelings. Deftly blending humor and insight, the story will charm readers as the toys come to recognize and appreciate themselves, one another, and their deep connection.