Sunday, November 30, 2008

Too Much of a Good Thing! Too Many Toys by David Shannon

Author-illustrator David Shannon, creator of the hilarious No, David! series, obviously knows whereof he speaks in his soon-to-be published new book, Too Many Toys. His hero Spencer presides over what can only be called an embarrassment (even a harrassment) of riches.

Spencer had too many toys. They covered the floor of his bedroom. They spilled down the stairs and into the living room. He had big toys in the backyard and little toys in the bathtub....

Everyone gave toys to Spencer. Of course, his mom and dad did. But also did Grandma Bobo and Poppy and Grandiddy and Auntie Mim and Uncle Fred and Cousin Drew. They gave him toys for every holiday (even the Fourth of July) and his birthday. He also got toys from his friends on his birthday and on their birthdays, too, when he went to their parties. He got toys at the drive-through with his Kidburger and at school for having lots of Peaceable Person Points, and at the dentist's and doctor's when he didn't squrm.

When hauling a load of laundry through the obstacle course that the toys created, Mom takes a fall and has finally had it. "You have TOO MANY TOYS," she cried. ("That's impossible," thought Spencer.) Mom orders Spence to fill a large box with toys he can live without, an ultimatum which ushers in phase two--the dreaded negotiation phase.

"How about this Alien Space Ninja. You haven't played with it in years!"

"But I was just about to!" Spencer said.

"Fine," said Mom. "But this can definitely go." She put down the Alien and picked up a filthy, one-eyed bunny.

"NOT MR. FLUFFERS, Mom. How COULD you? Grandma Bobo gave me that on my fourth birthday, and I'll never be FOUR again!"

"Tell you what," countered Spencer. "I'll let you have the pig, but I get Johnny Choo Choo."

"What ARE you, a LAWYER now?" asked his mom.

Finally Mom plays her best card. "How about all of them go into the box or you don't watch any TV for a week!" Somehow Spencer discovers he can part with a lot of the toys and at last the box is filled. Mom makes room in the car trunk and heads upstairs for her prize, a whole box of relinquished toys, only to discover them in a pile in the hall and the box apparently AWOL.

"Spencer! What have you done? We had a DEAL!" she screamed.

"You were right, Mom!" Spencer called from his bedroom. "I do have too many toys. But we can't give away this BOX!"

There sits Spencer inside the box, at the controls of his make-believe spaceship.

"It's the best toy ever."

Grownups who have been there and done that will love it, kids will get it, and everyone will have a few laughs at the happy problem of too many toys in the house. David Shannon's characteristic illustrations work well here with his all-too-realistic dialogue in this thoroughly modern toy story.

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