THE THINGS by Petronela Dostalova


Age Range: 3 - 6
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Two Things overcome mistrust to become friends.

A red Thing—smiley, bean-shaped, and bespectacled—lives a solitary existence. It has two friends, a cactus and a moose shadow puppet. The cactus is nice, if a bit hard to hug, and Moose is friendly but prone to disappear. Thing also apparently doesn’t know what it looks like: “Am I red all over?” it asks Cactus. “I wish I could see in the broken mirror.” But one day Thing looks out the window to the beach and sees an Other Thing, identical except for its sea-green tint. Thing is immediately concerned, deciding that “Other Thing doesn’t look like us. Other thing has big floppy ears like these. Other Thing wears silly clothes. Just like these.” (Thing points to its own floppy ears and silly clothes.) Thing decides that “It is definitely a most dangerously dangerous Other Thing!” But when Moose disappears again, Thing goes in search of it, and Other Thing offers comfort. That’s all it takes for the two to become lifelong friends. The Things have a certain strange cuteness about them, but this is an extremely rudimentary and uneven attempt to explore xenophobia and prejudice. The lack of significant character development and the absurdly simple resolution to an almost nonexistent conflict mar its success, especially with the undeveloped broken-mirror metaphor.

Clumsy but not charmless. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-78628-190-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Child's Play
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2019