From School Library Journal
Grade 5 Up–If the Velveteen Rabbit had a satanic bent, it would have much in common with the Plucker, the spirit doll that young Thomass father brings him from Africa in 1942. In Broms fevered imagination, the love and imaginative play with which children imbue their toys–their gusto, as he terms it–can be sucked out and turned to evil purposes, destroying the soul of the child and enlivening creatures too horrible to contemplate. It is up to Thomass old Jack-in-the-box to prevent the boy from such vitiation. Aided by the herbal and hoodoo wisdom of Mabelle, Thomass stalwart old nurse, and a few other plucky cast-off toys, Jack challenges the monstrous Foulthings spawned by the Plucker and vanquishes its malevolence. Broms descriptive powers are revealed equally in his prose and his illustrations. The paintings are so detailed and so layered that they yield their secrets further the more closely they are examined. Poring over them is an exercise in fascinated revulsion. Almost every page–from the opening, What the hell? to the resolution–contains abominations calculated to stir up nightmares. Despite its bittersweet, triumphant ending [...] this book will stir discomfort everywhere it goes. Brom is surely aware of this, as he is photographed on the dust jacket, poised to consume an eviscerated teddy bear with an oversize fork and spoon. Not everyone will be amused, and not everyone should be exposed to this macabre tour de force.–Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 9-12. The story of sentient childhood toys abandoned when a child grows up takes on a ghastly, gothic slant in this oversize, illustrated volume. The main character is Jack, a spring toy that takes on an evil imp, loosed from the head of an African spirit doll, which has designs on a child. Illustrated with darkly washed images of broken dolls, bound snow angels, and the devilish Plucker, this is a horror novella likely to appeal to those with little sentimentality for things of childhood and who enjoy the chilly anxiety that comes with the possibility of powerful things that go bump in the night. The beautiful production values here outdo both the literary quality and the depth of the images. Some readers will find the whole too creepy; others will be fascinated. Francisca GoldsmithCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved