Lumphy is a stuffed buffalo. StingRay is a stuffed stingray. And Plastic... well, Plastic isn't quite sure what she is. They all belong to the Little Girl who lives on the high bed with the fluffy pillows. A very nice person to belong to.
But outside of the Little Girl's room things can be confusing. Like when Lumphy gets sticky with peanut butter on a picnic, why is he called "dirty"? Or when StingRay jumps into the bathtub, what will happen to her fur? And where in the house can they find the Little Girl a birthday present that she will love the most?
Together is best for these three best friends. Together they look things up in the dictionary, explore the basement, and argue about the meaning of life. And together they face dogs, school, television commercials, the vastness of the sea and the terrifying bigness of the washing machine.
With all the appeal of a classic, here are six linked stories form Emily Jenkins, and illustrated by Caldecott winning Paul O. Zelinsky that showcase the unforgettable adventuresand misadventures of three extraordinary friends.
As delightfully quirky as its subtitle, "Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic"), this buoyant chapter book relays the adventures (one per chapter) of a trio of toys. As the tale opens, Lumphy (a plush buffalo), StingRay (a stuffed fish) and Plastic (who, in a quasi-mystery plot thread, discovers that she is a rubber ball) thump along in a dark backpack. The three worry about where they might be headed ("The Girl doesn't love us and she's trying to get rid of us!")-perhaps to the vet (who will poke them "over and over with needles the size of carrots") or to the zoo (where they will have to live "each one in a separate cage")-only to find themselves at school as the Little Girl's show-and-tell. Their humorous dialogue may feel to readers much like eavesdropping on the playground (when Plastic says of dental floss, "Maybe it feels nice.... You never know until you try," Lumphy replies, "I know without trying"). The omniscient narrator also chimes in with wry comments (e.g., a description of StingRay, "who sometimes says she knows things when she doesn't"). Supporting characters include a "bumpity washing machine" named Frank, who serenades a fearful peanut-buttery Lumphy through the wash cycle, and kind TukTuk the towel who helps Plastic in his self-discovery. Zelinsky's half-tone illustrations depict the most dramatic moment in each episode from the toy's eye-view. Together, author and artist take an entertaining look at identity, friendship and belonging. Ages 7-11. (Sept.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.