Squirm’s Book Reviews: A Toy Edition

Each week I review books we’ve read with Squirm. Find other reviews here

Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems

Adventures of a Subversive Reader: Knuffle Bunny Free

Knuffle Bunny Free is the third, and (I assume) final book in the Knuffle Bunny series. This time, Trixie has grown up even more and is heading on a plane with her parents to visit her grandparents in Holland. Unfortunately, she leaves Knuffle Bunny behind on the place, and by the time she and her father realise it, the plane is on its way to China!

As much as I love the first two in the Knuffle Bunny series, I think I love this one the most. It’s a little poignant, you know that Trixie’s growing up and that there’s not too many more stories for the two of them left. It was lovely moving out of Trixie’s neighbourhood in the illustrations, and the distinctive drawing on black and white photograph works as well in Holland as they do in New York. I think this would be a great picture book for children around six or seven, but definitely enjoyable for those younger or older.

When you’ve finished reading, it would be very cool to learn more about Holland, or some of the other places mentioned in the book. You could even use Google Maps to plan your own ‘trip’ to visit places. You could find images of different places around the world and use image editing software to turn the images to black and white, before adding your own drawings, to imitate the illustrations in the book. Knuffle Bunny Free could also inspire some interesting conversations about favourite toys that different people have – if your family has good photographs, you might be able to make a photo album of toys during the years. Alternately, your child could take photos of their own special toys and create a photo album about them.

The Boy and the Toy by Sonya Hartnett

Adventures of a Subversive Reader: The Boy and the Toy

(AWW 2013 Squirm Challenge: Book 11)

A Steampunk style picture book! I don’t think I need to tell you much more for you to understand how much I loved this one. But because I’m nice, I will tell you more!

“One day a man invented the best toy in the world”

This inventor, gave the toy to his son to keep him company before setting off on a journey. It turns out that the toy is rather amazing, and can do all sort of things. Unfortunately he’s also a rather jealous toy who wants the boy to spend all of his time playing with him. The boy knows he needs to contact his father for help, but how can he distract the toy long enough to do that?

This is a whimsical book, really, with an old fashioned feeling as that father goes away and leaves the son and the toy to look after themselves. The pictures, slightly muted in colour, add to this feeling, along with the presence of air ships and inventors and strange towering houses with spiral staircases! I love that there’s no lengthy introduction to this world, we just land there in the story, and the reader is allowed to just go with it.

If you’ve got a child who loves creating, this would be the book for them. You could use recycled materials to create your own toy, or could create a puzzle like the boy in the book does. You could draw plans for creative houses or work out other ways of distracting the toy so you can send a letter.


What’s your favourite book about toys?



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