Toys Come Home: Being the Early Experiences of an Intelligent Stingray, a Brave Buffalo, and a Brand-New Someone Called
Toys Come Home: Being the Early Experiences of an Intelligent Stingray, a Brave Buffalo, and a Brand-New Someone Called
$14.44

Series: Toys Go Out   

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Annotation: When a little girl gets a plush stingray for her birthday, it makes friends with some of her other toys as they all try to navigate in the world of real people.
Catalog Number: #4999844
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition Date: 2011
Illustrator: Zelinsky, Paul O.,
Pages: 132 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-375-86200-5
ISBN 13: 978-0-375-86200-7
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2010005896
Dimensions: 22 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
Horn Book
This third book about StingRay, Lumphy, and Plastic explains how the three toys came to belong to the Little Girl. As in Toys Go Out and Toy Dance Party, the characters have distinct personalities, and their small adventures are well suited to emergent readers and read-aloud audiences. The text's gentle, humorous tone is enhanced by Zelinsky's soft black-and-white illustrations.
Kirkus Reviews
Who could imagine the introduction of a self-conscious stingray could lead to such great things? How toys StingRay, Lumpy and Plastic learn to share their Girl's living quarters (and her affection) forms the plot of this humorous, bittersweet precursor to Toys Go Out (2006) and Toy Dance Party (2008). Owning her role as the "Actual Day of Birth Present," StingRay fights for her place among a group of peculiar playthings, which are all bossed about by pompous walrus Bobby Dot. StingRay saves sleepy Sheep (sans its ear) from thistles, and Lumpy outwits an aggressive feline houseguest. Bobby Dot's unintentional sacrifice comforts his beloved child but brings about a fate of Velveteen Rabbit proportions—a dryer, sneakers and dry-clean–only stuffed animal clearly do not mix. Life's brutal realities are spotlighted with a gleaming authenticity ("Because now StingRay knows something she really and truly did not know before. A life can be over"). Character-driven episodes unfold in six fully realized chapters; Zelinsky's softly shaded pencil drawings showcase pivotal moments, revealing each individual idiosyncrasy (narcoleptic Sheep included) during this eventful year. A cozy self-contained ending depicts the security found in hearth and home—or, in this case, the cool comfort only the linen-closet floor (and a snuggle with your closest friends) can provide. This enjoyable trio deserves its rightful place away from the confines of any toy chest. (Fantasy. 6-9)
School Library Journal
Gr 1&11;3&12; In this follow-up to Toys Go Out (2006) and Toy Dance Party (2008, both Random), readers discover how the toys came to live with the Girl. StingRay arrives as a birthday gift and soon after meets Bobby Dot, a disagreeable stuffed walrus that makes her feel unwelcome. When the Girl becomes ill and vomits on him, Bobby Dot is thoroughly disgusted while StingRay feels it would be an honor to be "puked on" by the Girl. (The author devotes a whole chapter to this episode titled, "You Can Puke on Me.") An attempt to channel a common childhood anxiety about the dark through the toys may have adults answering some questions. StingRay loses her way in the dark (basement) and hears a scary rumbling noise (the clothes dryer); she imagines ghosts that "eat marine animals" or take them and make them slaves or an "axe murderer" who jumps around chopping things. The demise of the unpleasant Bobby Dot (he is accidently shredded in the dryer after the vomit incident) is taken in stride by most of the toys in the Girl's room, but StingRay is thoughtful about how quickly a life can be over. How Sheep came to lose her ear and the arrival of Lumphy and Plastic are also addressed in this story that shines with a message about the value of friendship.&12; D. Maria LaRocco, Cuyahoga Public Library, Strongsville, OH
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Who could imagine the introduction of a self-conscious stingray could lead to such great things? How toys StingRay, Lumpy and Plastic learn to share their Girl's living quarters (and her affection) forms the plot of this humorous, bittersweet precursor to Toys Go Out (2006) and Toy Dance Party (2008). Owning her role as the "Actual Day of Birth Present," StingRay fights for her place among a group of peculiar playthings, which are all bossed about by pompous walrus Bobby Dot. StingRay saves sleepy Sheep (sans its ear) from thistles, and Lumpy outwits an aggressive feline houseguest. Bobby Dot's unintentional sacrifice comforts his beloved child but brings about a fate of Velveteen Rabbit proportions—a dryer, sneakers and dry-clean–only stuffed animal clearly do not mix. Life's brutal realities are spotlighted with a gleaming authenticity ("Because now StingRay knows something she really and truly did not know before. A life can be over"). Character-driven episodes unfold in six fully realized chapters; Zelinsky's softly shaded pencil drawings showcase pivotal moments, revealing each individual idiosyncrasy (narcoleptic Sheep included) during this eventful year. A cozy self-contained ending depicts the security found in hearth and home—or, in this case, the cool comfort only the linen-closet floor (and a snuggle with your closest friends) can provide. This enjoyable trio deserves its rightful place away from the confines of any toy chest. (Fantasy. 6-9)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* This charming title serves as the retroactive prequel to the creators' previous, well received early chapter books exploring the hidden lives of a child's playthings: Toys Go Out (2006) and Toy Dance Party (2008). Its six gentle chapters introduce stuffed animal StingRay, showing how she first came to join Girl's family and began to grow into a wise, plush ringleader. The omniscient narrator uses wonderful language, full of rich words and sounds, in descriptions of each adventure, from a pleasurable birthday party to a horrifying encounter with a nasty cat to perhaps the most charming account of puking ever typed episode that underscores the importance of close pals. The tone is comforting ghter than Dance Party ile avoiding any preciousness or self-consciousness present in many titles with similar plots and themes. The empathetic characters, gentle drama, and occasional full-page black-and-white drawings create a timeless story of adventure and friendship to treasure aloud or independently. Wholly satisfying, this may well leave readers expecting to see the Velveteen Rabbit peeking in the bedroom window and smiling approvingly.
Word Count: 15,437
Reading Level: 3.7
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.7 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 146342 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.2 / points:6.0 / quiz:Q55217
Lexile: 680L
Guided Reading Level: N
Fountas & Pinnell: N
CHAPTER ONE

In Which There Is Nowhere Nice to Sleep

StingRay has missed the birthday party.

She didn't mean to. It was her first party, first party ever in the world to be invited to--and she missed it.

She didn't even know she was missing it. She didn't know anything about the party until now, when it is already over.

She can tell the people are disappointed in her.

Here is what happened:

StingRay woke up. She had never been awake before, but she could hear a scissor scoring the top of a cardboard box above her head. A box from a toy company. StingRay was squashed in that box, inside yet another box wrapped in shiny blue paper and tied with pink ribbon. She woke with a feeling that she'd been waiting, asleep, for a very long time.

She dreamed while she slept: the same dream over and over, about a wooden crate filled with other plush stingrays, packed with flippers touching flippers, tummies touching tails.

It was a mellow, cozy dream. The stingrays were still. The sounds were muffled.

A dream of something like a family, StingRay thinks.

Though she isn't entirely sure what a family is.

The word just came to her and she used it, inside her head.

I am an intelligent stingray, she thinks to herself. To just have a word come to me and to know it's the right word. In fact, now that I consider it, I know a lot of things! For instance,

I know that I'm a stingray,

and that a stingray is an extra-special kind of fish,

and that blue is the very best color anything can possibly be,

and that people are people,

and kids are baby people,

and that a kid would probably like to play with me someday.

I know all this stuff without being told. It's practically like magic, the knowledge I have. I hope the rest of the world isn't too jealous of me.

The scissor scores the cardboard, and the wrapping is ripped off. Now StingRay comes out of her crispy nest of tissue paper and is pulled into the bright light of what she knows, just knows somehow, is a kitchen. White cabinets. A jar of spoons and spatulas. Finger paintings stuck to the fridge with magnets.

A kid smiles down at her.

StingRay smiles back.

"She likes me!" says the Girl. "She smiled at me!"

"That's a nice pretend."

"I'm not pretending. She really did smile," the Girl insists.

The mommy kisses the Girl on her head. "Sorry it didn't come in time for your party. There was a shipping delay, Grandpa said when he called."

(A party? thinks StingRay. Was there a party?)

"Still, today is your actual birthday," the mommy goes on. "The day you were born. So it's nice to have a present on this day as well, isn't it?"

(I missed a party! thinks StingRay. A party I was supposed to go to!)

"Her name is StingRay," the Girl announces.

"Oh?" The mommy crinkles her nose. "Don't you want to call her a real name? Like Sophia or Samantha?"

"StingRay."

"Or maybe an animal name, like you gave Bobby Dot?"

(Who is Bobby Dot? wonders StingRay.)

"You could call her Sweetie Pie," continues the mommy. "Or Sugar Puff. How about Sugar Puff, hmm?"

"Just StingRay," says the Girl. "I like StingRay."

. . . . .

Upstairs, the Girl's bedroom has a high bed with fluffy pillows and a soft patchwork quilt. Atop the windowsill is a collection of birthday cards from her friends. There are shelves filled with books and games, puzzles and art supplies. A large ash-blue rocking horse resides in the corner. On the bed lie a plump stuffed walrus and a woolly sheep on wheels.

The sheep looks old.

Under the bookcase, StingRay can see several sets of tiny, sparkling eyes. She can feel them watching her. She can feel the eyes of the walrus, the sheep, and the rocking horse, too. But none of them is moving.

StingRay doesn't move, either.

The house feels big. Too big.

There don't seem to be any other stingrays here with whom to nestle. She longs for the comfort of her cozy dream.

The Girl sets StingRay on a low shelf and trots out of the room. She has a playdate.

When the family bangs the front door behind them and the toys can hear the rumble of the car starting in the driveway, the walrus galumphs himself to the edge of the bed, then hurls himself off. He executes a spectacular flip with a twist--and lands right side up.

Whomp!

Excerpted from Toys Come Home: Being the Early Experiences of an Intelligent Stingray, a Brave Buffalo, and a Brand-New Someone Called Plastic by Emily Jenkins
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

“A bit like the great movie Toy Story and a bit like the wonderful Kate DiCamillo book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. This is a great family book.” —The Washington Post on Toys Go Out, the companion to Toys Come Home
 
Here is the final book in the highly acclaimed Toys trilogy, which includes the companion books Toys Go Out and Toy Dance Party and chronicles the unforgettable adventures of three brave and loving toys.
 
Fans of the series, as well as newcomers, will happily discover how Lumphy, StingRay, and Plastic came to live with the Girl. In six linked adventures, readers will also learn how the one-eared Sheep became one-eared, watch a cranky toy meet an unfortunate end, and best of all, learn why it’s okay for someone you truly love to puke on you. This is perhaps the most charming of three inimitably charming books destined to become classics.

Wall Street Journal Best Children’s Book of the Year
A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Selection
 
"A timeless story of adventure and friendship to treasure aloud or independently. Wholly satisfying, this may well leave readers expecting to see the Velveteen Rabbit peeking in the bedroom window and smiling approvingly." —Booklist, Starred

“The best talking toy stories since Winnie-the-Pooh.” —Kirkus Reviews

"A book destined to be read to children at bedtime for decades (nay, centuries?) to come. It is rare that prequels exceed the books they are meant to simply introduce, but this is one of the few." —Betsy Bird, A Fuse #8 Production


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