From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 2—In many ways Spencer's situation epitomizes every child's fantasy-he has a toy collection that rivals a major toy store in depth and breadth. Simply cataloging the different types takes many engaging pages overflowing with brightly colored playthings. The problem is that the sheer number of toys has created multiple hazards. Tired of dodging disasters and sidestepping landslides, Spencer's mom decides that enough is enough and begins negotiating the downsizing of inventory. Savvy Spencer turns on the big sad eyes in order to protect his favorites. Mom's troubles do not stop there; the toy debate is weighted in the boy's favor by the constant deluge of gifts from friends and family. After sorting through the entire collection, he and his mother come up with a box of items to give away—only to find that the toy he refuses to part with is the box. A master at capturing the workings of a young mind, Shannon combines realistic dialogue with his boisterous illustrations to create another surefire hit. This book provides a pertinent and appealing read.—Piper Nyman, Brookmeade Elementary School, Nashville, TN
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Spencer has too many toys. They spill from closets, cascade down staircases, and generally occupy him and frustrate his parents in equal measure. Finally Spencer’s mom has had enough, and after a litigious negotiation, she helps Spencer pack a box of toys to give away. At the last minute, though, Spencer reconsiders the plan in unexpected ways. Shannon’s illustrations are cacophonous explotions; even the title page is so chaotic that the text is crowded into the corner. Shannon’s fans will recognize elements of his previous characters—Alice the Fairy’s expressive aspect; David’s corn teeth—in this current cast, portrayed with ebullient vigor. Also effective are the almost surreal backdrops to some of the disagreements. When Spencer is asked to let go of some of his treasures, for example, he resembles a sad-eyed puppy, standing in a gray wasteland, a barren tree in the background. Shannon’s story carries an attitude large enough to entertain a big group, while the illustrations are detailed enough to engage even the most inattentive individual when viewed up close. Preschool-Grade 3. --Thom Barthelmess