There’s more than meets the eye to the cuddly stuffy nestled upon your bed.
Young Clark has always had an army of stuffed animals in his room. The fluffy creatures are his favorite toys, and Clark arranges them in a special formation every night before bed. Some of Clark’s classmates have begun to pick on him because of this, and his mother has begun to hint that maybe he’s too old for them. But Clark’s gut tells him that his stuffed friends are very important, and it soon turns out that Clark is right. A menacing monster in the form of an oily shadow stalks the night, and stuffed animals loved by children are what keep the monster at bay. When Clark’s mom banishes stuffed animals from the house, all that stands between the monster and Clark’s family is a Grandma-made sock animal, Foon. The author twists plenty of originality from the old kid-afraid-of-the-dark chestnut, and the tension between Clark and his mom is well drawn. Clark (presumably white, like his family) has a soft, indoor-kid vibe to him that is refreshing in a middle-grade landscape teeming with kids who overflow with attitude. Chapters written from Foon’s perspective bring a healthy dose of weirdness to the book, neatly developing a character that has been alive just a few hours but is determined to do what needs to be done.
A warm and engaging tale. (Fiction. 8-12)