Bonnie so loves her homemade toy, Forky, teacher Miss Wendy holds a Craft Your Own Buddy Day so everyone can create a special toy from found or recycled materials.
After the children finish their projects, they leave for recess—and the newly created toys come to life. Lovable Forky is excited to have new friends to play with, but he rapidly realizes the new toys have serious existential concerns. Juice Box Robot wants someone to drink from him. Miss Paper Plate and Paper Bag Puppet are looking for food to hold. Bubble Wrap Woman begins obsessively popping herself. Everyone is feeling out of their comfort zone, arguing and yelling, so Forky takes charge before the children return and wisely explains that to be a toy, made with a child’s love and imagination, is now “the best thing to be.” The cartoon drawings emulate a child’s artistic hand, while a dual narrative that combines traditional prose text with speech bubbles moves the story along. In this companion to Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 4 (readers familiar with the franchise will recognize some of the faces in the background), Daywalt reiterates the series’ message that toys and their owners love one other. However, the underlying theme of creativity with the simplest of materials will resonate as well. Bonnie presents white, and she has racially diverse classmates.
The talking crafted toys hold considerable child appeal. (Picture book. 4-7)