Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Toys Go Out Review

Book talk:  Have you ever wondered what your toys do when you're not around?  Do they miss you when you're gone?  Or do they throw parties while you're at school?  Do they like going to show and tell?  This is the story of three toys that may not be too different from your own.  They love playing with their little girl, but when she's done the story is only beginning.

Rocks my socks:  This book is a masterpiece of understated wisdom.  Each chapter contains a different story and while each one is straight-forward and easy to follow, each contains complex lessons.  A simple story about Plastic wondering why she is different from the other toys is understandable even for young children while teaching about the importance of discovering and embracing your identity.  The toys each have distinct personalities and the way they interact with each other is a wonderful demonstration of empathy and how to get along with others.  The book is full of childlike logic without talking down to the reader.  It's aimed at a very young audience, but enjoyable for adults to read as well.  I'm not sure how Jenkins manages to accomplish all of this, but I respect her immensely for doing so.

Rocks in my socks: zip

Every book its reader:  This short, engaging, easy-to-understand book would make a great first chapter book for a child learning to read.  It would also be an excellent read-aloud for younger kids.  My students love this book, and when I read it as part of my faculty/staff book club all of the adults in the room loved it as well.  Most people can remember playing with toys at some point in their lives and wondering about what they do when no one is looking.  To play with a toy is to imagine a life for it, and thinking of how that life may continue after the play session is a logical step.  Which means there's something familiar and nostalgic in stories of toys coming to life.  Perhaps that's why I was sobbing so hard at the end of Toy Story 3.


Emily Jenkins has a website with a page for the book as well as FAQ's, a bio, and a teacher resources section with discussion questions, writing prompts, a reader's theatre script and more.

Paul O. Zelinsky has a website with a page for the book and samplings of his other, delightful illustrations

Random House has a page for the book that includes a detailed reader's guide

Source: Copy provided as part of faculty/staff book club

Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins, pictures by Paul O. Zelinsky: buy it or check it out today!

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