(written and illustrated by) William Joyce
MoonBot Book, A Caitlyn Dlouhy Book, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2016
From the book jacket: “In the secret realm of toys there are many mysteries. There is the Code of the Toys, which is as ancient as childhood. There’s also the magic of becoming a child’s favorite, the highest honor in the Toy World. Billy’s mother made Ollie by hand. He was a toy who would matter. He becomes Billy’s best friend, confidant, pal, and yes, Billy’s “favorite.” But there are villains in the Toy World, and Zozo, the clown king, is the most feared. He and his toy henchmen (the Creeps) have sworn to steal and imprison favorite toys until they forget their children and become forever lost. When Ollie is toynapped, Billy must rescue his beloved favorite from Zozo’s subterranean lair in the Dark Carnival Place, past the park, through the woods, and into the night. Never has a journey of ten blocks been more epic.”
Sounds awesome, right? Well, it was! I wasn’t sure at first because the story is told mainly through Ollie’s point of view and I will admit, even with my vivid imagination it was a little hard to get it into my head that toys think, talk, and move on their own. But after the first couple of chapters I could hardly put it down. Billy, who is around 6 years old, is very brave (and very naughty) for going out on his own in the middle of the night to find his lost Ollie. All the while, Ollie is desperately trying to get back to him and rescue all the other lost toys.
Written for the early reader set, this 295-page book will take them a while to get through but it is well worth it. It would also make for good reading to children at bedtime, a one or two chapters a night to savor the “A-venture” Ollie goes on. There is sadness along the way and Zozois mean and does mean things to other toys (but not too mean). There is also love, hope and friendship as well. The illustrations are both poignant and sweet. We recommend this book for any kitten (or grown-up) who has a favorite toy and will cherish it forever. (Mom still has her favorite teddy bear from when she was a child- see it below.)
My well-loved teddy bear – Favorite Toy