From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1—Through soft illustrations rendered in pen and watercolor, this simple story offers a helpful message: a bully loses his power when surrounded by friends who rally together. When a girl and her mother leave the house, three toys—a doll named Sally, a duck named Maddy, and a Pig named Sid—must endure name-calling and bossiness from a toy soldier throughout the day. Soon the friends learn that if they can laugh at one another, A-One's message no longer hurts them; in fact, he learns that even he may need friends.—Melissa Smith, Green Valley Library, Henderson, NV
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When a group of toys is left alone for the day, A-One, a very bossy windup soldier, takes command. Neither his duck, doll, nor pig subjects are able to live up to his expectations, and so he marches them around, makes fun of them, and purloins their belongings. As he continues his attempts to assert his authority, though, he notices that the other toys’ gentle teasing shows that self-assurance is more powerful than his bully’s bravado. As a smile soon cracks on A-One’s face, he realizes he wouldn’t be anywhere without his companions, and so he returns the stolen items and rejoins the forgiving gang as an equal. The pen-and-watercolor illustrations are filled with expressive characters and Graham’s signature, whimsical details, such as the stuffed pig’s snout ring. This simple, affecting story will be welcome anywhere that more than two young kids are gathered together and where laughter, not mean words, is the lingua franca. Preschool-Grade 1. --Andrew Medlar