Author: Sonya Harnett
Illustrator: Lucia Masciullo
Publisher: Penguin / Viking
Themes: friendship, family, toys, jealousy, invention, presents, father’s and son’s
This new and original story by Sonya Harnett is expertly illustrated by Lucia Masciullo, a couple of newcomers to the Children’s Literature scene. The Boy and the Toy will capture the imagination of all readers, both young and old.
The story introduces us to an unusual family that lives in an equally unusual house at the end of a rickety and unusual jetty that overlooks the ocean.
The family, a father and a son spend a lot of time apart, the father, an inventor is forever away experimenting, exploring and inventing and his concern for his son leads him to build the boy a very special toy to keep him company while he’s away.
Initially we’re intrigued by the new toy, it’s cute… in a weird kind of way and it certainly seems to be keeping he boy company, and they both seem to be enjoying playing games and having adventures.
But over time the reader becomes aware that something’s not quite right with the toy, which seems to be throwing toys out of windows and ripen apart books… could it be that the new toy, the smartest toy in the world, the new best friend made by his father is actually… jealous?
That’s it!, it’s jealous and wants to be the only thing in the life of the boy, and it seems to be plotting and scheming new and interesting was to be just that.
The boy clues in eventually and starts to develop a plan to get his father back to help him turn the toy off.
Well worth a space in everyone’s library The Boy and the Toy will have adults and children intrigued, captured and invested in the tale and adventure of the boy on the search for a best friend, the toy with a mistaken identity and the father who isn’t at all there…
This story doesn’t preach at the reader, instead it invites them on a journey where they can notice things for themselves, having read it to a few groups of people now I’m amazed at how often different people notice different things about the toy and the unusual friendship that’s developed.
Kids will, inevitably be drawn to questions about friendship, family and what kind of toy they think would be the best to in the world while adults may go a little deeper and ask questions about the nature of jealousy, family, how they love their family and how much time they share with the people they love.