By Mini Grey
Alfred A. Knopf, $16.99, 32 pages
A young boy and his family are spending a sunny day at the beach. He is sure to pack his favorite toy, Traction Man. Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey, by Mini Grey, tells the story of one toy’s secret adventure in the surf. The picture book is told from Traction Man’s point of view. He and his loyal pup, Scrubbing Brush, are super excited. The only thing they’re unsure of is Granny’s new dog, Truffles. Once the toys hit the beach, Traction Man changes into his Squid-Proof Scuba Suit, Light Weight Shorts and Aquatic Air Tanks. It’s time to explore the underwater world! What will the pals find? Truffles is ready to taste the picnic delicacies. As Traction Man tries to keep the pooch away, Truffles ends up burying the toy in the sand! A bit later Traction Man meets a new friend – Beach-Time Brenda!
Parents will notice that the transitions between scenes are sometimes quite abrupt. But this likely won’t matter to young readers. They’ll love the bold, bright colors and cartoon-like whimsical nature. This story is a celebration of toys and play. All children will enjoy it, but is it especially nice for boys to have a story to read that focuses on a main male character and his dog. The fact that they happen to both be toys makes it all the more fun.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Franklin