Welcome to another Write a Review Wednesday, a meme started by Tara Lazar as a way to show support to authors of kids literature. Last week I wrote a review on Chicken, Pig, Cow, a delightful story and 2009 Canadian Children’s Book Center award finalist written by Ruth Ohi and published by Annick Press. This week I’m still looking at CCBC award finalists with Thing-Thing (age 4-7) written by Cary Fagan and illustrated by Nicolas Debon and published by Tundra Books (@TundraBooks). Thanks to my friend Sylvia at Tundra Books I have a copy to review.
It’s young Archibald Crimp’s birthday and his parents have given him an unusual stuffed animal as a gift. It’s not a bear or bunny or dog. It’s Thing-Thing. But like every gift Archibald received for his birthday, he’s not happy. He tosses Thing-Thing across the room and out the window.
This is bad, this is very bad.
Thing-Thing’s only hope was to have been given to a child who would sleep with it, play with it, love it. Instead it’s been discarded; flying fast toward the ground below. As Thing-Thing falls, it passes by the different floors and the people there – an injured girl, a boardroom meeting, an old woman eating lunch, a courting couple, a baby carriage. It gets a glimps into their lives and even makes an impression on them.
With three kids, we learned early about the importance of stuffies, a child’s special friend. The kids fell in love with Thing-Thing from the first time it was introduced. The looks on their faces when Thing-Thing was tossed out the window, by a child, was disbelief. And as the ground got closer and closer to Thing-Thing, my kids worried how the story would end.
Most stories are written based on one character’s point of view. Cary Fagan writes from Thing-Thing’s perspective as it’s falling, the thoughts going through it’s head. But he also writes from the perspective of the residents that Thing-Thing passes. They appear like mini stories within the bigger story, but still connected. Nicolas Debon uses the illustrations to add to the feeling of falling and Thing-Thing’s perspective.
Thing-Thing is a beautiful story about the desire to feel loved and wanted. Thing-Thing’s only dream is to be loved by a child and to love that child back. And when Thing-Thing does find what it’s looking for in the end you can’t help but be caught up in the happiness; I know I was. My oldest daughter finished the story wishing she had a Thing-Thing to love. Each time I’ve read this story to my kids, each time I read about Thing-Thing being discarded and finally finding the love it so craved, I found myself tearing up. I have read and enjoyed many picture books, but this is one of the very few that has made such an impact on me. At bedtime all three of my kids slept soundly, hugging their stuffies extra tight.
Thing-Thing is a finalist for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award as well as the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award. The Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award honours excellence in the illustrated picture book format, for children aged 3 to 8. The TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award was established in 2005 to honour the most distinguished book of the year for children aged 1 to 12. The winners are expected to be announced on November 19, 2009.
If you want to add Thing-Thing to your personal library, visit Amazon.ca. You can also read previous Write a Review Wednesday posts about other great children’s books. You can also see Cary Fagan at this year’s Word on the Street festival in Toronto, Ontario September 27, 2009 (12:00-12:30pm at the Children’s Reading tent and 1:30-2:00pm at the CBC Stage).