Stuffed toys come to life in this sweet, but problematic picture book. While on a sleepover, cousins Brooke and Lily find a bag labeled, “Magic Dust,” in an empty toy chest and decide to put their toy monkey and bear in the chest, sprinkle them with the dust and close the lid. The next day, the girls wake to hear knocking from the box and discover their toys can move and talk.
Unfortunately, the rest of the story is about Brooke and Lily trying to hide their discovery from Brooke’s parents, for fear they’ll take the toys away. The most endearing part of the story, the idea of toys coming to life, becomes secondary to this deception. This is troublesome enough, but the moral issue makes it worse: parents aren’t likely to appreciate the idea that the girls are unable to trust Brooke’s mother and father and, thus, mislead them.
Although the toys throw each other around, they never do much that’s adventurous, and the plot lags. It doesn’t help matters that the writing is unnecessarily wordy, with many pages dense with text.
The idea of toys coming to life is a beloved premise in children’s books, and many authors successfully recycle it. But author Bob O’Hare offers nothing original or particularly magical here. In addition, the writing is fraught with punctuation and capitalization errors, and the drawings are one-dimensional.
This is a story that cries out for a rewrite and for pictures that more skillfully transport readers into the charm of child’s play.