by Dan Gordon and Zaki Gordon
This story should be read out loud. If you are a child, you must have an adult read this to you. The most important thing about the adult is that he or she must love you. If you are an adult, you must read this out loud, and because you would feel very strange making all those sound effects and voices if you were sitting by yourself, you must read this to a child you love. Of course, this story is best accompanied by cookies and hot chocolate. At different points in the story, Grandma Goddess will scold the children for slurping their hot chocolate and smacking their lips. When she does that, what do you suppose you should do?
Grandma Goddess has come to visit three of her grandchildren, and she has brought them a story. She reads to them:
The Little Boy is very sick. Outside, London reels under the bombing of WWII. The Little Boy’s father flies for the RAF and is gone, but the Little Boy remembers the stories his father told him of a magic teddy bear named Davin that could cure sick children.
Three of the Little Boy’s toys set out to find Davin. The cowardly Sergeant Major, the brave Little Bugle Boy, and the heroic Perseus brave the terrors of the nanny’s cat, the attic, the Shelves, and even facing down El Diablo himself. Along the way they meet new friends Robin Hood, the Last of the Mohicans, and El Lobo. They battle the Dark Knight, Blackbeard and his terrible band of pirates, and a fire-breathing dragon.
But in the end, can they find Davin, the teddy bear who was lost so long ago?
One word best describes this book: charming. I slipped into that wonderful imagination that a child and his toys share. The words carried me right along. The layering of the stories worked so effectively. The children would interrupt their grandma’s story (at one point the youngest even pauses the story for a bathroom break). And that first paragraph I wrote in the story summary? That’s pretty much direct from the introduction. Like I said: charming.
I read the book in a matter of a few hours, so don’t expect long-lasting pleasure. On the other hand, were I reading this out loud (alas, I did not follow directions), it would last a good few nights with the kids, and I suspect they’d enjoy it. My eldest is just about the right age for it.
About halfway through the novel, I did get… annoyed. The three main toys kept getting into dangerous situations and would be rescued not by their own daring or courage, but some new character would come along and rescue them. Yes, every once in a while that works well. Here it happened at least three times in a row.
I’m thankful that stopped. The toys grew and became courageous. In the end, an incredible sacrifice saves the day. I enjoyed it quite a bit.
Follow the directions of this book. Find a child you love and read this out loud to them. You won’t be disappointed.