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Traction Man Is Here! (Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards (Awards)) Hardcover – April 12, 2005
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 2–This imaginative and very funny romp through the fantasy play of a young boy features his newly acquired action figure. Square-jawed and equipped with combat boots, scuba gear, space suit, and camouflage, Traction Man overcomes evil pillows, dastardly brooms, a poisonous dishcloth, and a wicked spade. But he and his little scrub-brush pet seem to be no match for Granny, who presents the action figure with a nerdy knitted green romper suit and bonnet. The evil-doers laugh at his silly get-up until Scrubbing Brush unravels the yarn to help Traction Man save a clutch of hapless spoons and he is once more the heroic figure. The angular, full-color art sweeps across the pages and perfectly animates the antics of Traction Man and his enemies. Grey has a way of exactly catching the nuances of a child's ability to turn even the most common object into a friend or looming foe in the never-ending battle between good and evil. This fresh, funny hero and Grey's celebration of a child's imagination definitely have traction.– Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI
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PreS-Gr. 2. Opening a present on Christmas morning, a boy finds the latest Traction Man action figure, who takes on an adventurous life of his own: diving into the soapy, underwater world of the kitchen sink; escaping the "Poisonous Dishcloth"; and adopting a "brave little scrubbing brush" as his pet. Later, Granny gives Traction Man a present: a hand-knitted green suit, complete with tie-on knit cap. Despite his obvious humiliation, Traction Man undertakes another rescue mission and triumphs once again. Though children's toys have come to life in many picture books, they are more typically soft toys and the stories usually veer toward sentimentality rather than adventure. Brightened with colorful washes and replete with patterns, the detailed illustrations show Traction Man in action, sometimes stiffly doll-like, sometimes more expressive and human, but always worth watching. Setting up the child as the creator of Traction Man's secondary world and dramatizing his narrative play, Grey portrays with precision and wit the sort of inventive thinking that toys can inspire in children. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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