Toys in Space
Toys in Space
Mini Grey
ISBN 9780307978127
Knopf/Random House, 2013.
4 ½ stars
Keywords: courage friendship imaginative-play mini-grey overcoming-fear space toys toys-space

Toys in Space
by Mini Grey

Mini Grey follows in the tradition of her picture books starring Traction Man with the tale of a group of toys left in the yard, who combat their fear of the dark with an imaginative story of derring-do.

"That summer night, for the first time, the toys were left outside," the book begins, setting a scene for possible catastrophe. Will it rain? Will a dog see them as chew toys? Will they be coveted by a neighbor child? No. "The sun went down, the sky grew dark, and, for the very first time...," reads the text in three horizontal panels with a time-lapse of the dimming sunlight, "the toys saw this." With a turn of the page, Grey reveals the wonder of the starlit sky dominating a double-page spread: "Everyone was quiet for a while." But then their anxieties begin to creep up ("I don't like the dark!"; "I may get damp!"). WonderDoll starts improvising a story in which all the toys play a role, with a spaceship and an alien called Hoctopize in search of its lost toy, Cuddles. Grey cleverly divides the pages to indicate the story WonderDoll tells, and the comments and suggestions added by her toy compatriots.

In all of her books, Grey extols the benefits of imaginative play in real time with real settings and real stuffed toys and action figures. Her own leaps of creativity cannot help but inspire the same instinct in boys and girls everywhere.

This review first appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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