A sweet tale of a cuddly teddy come to life…or a thrilling adventure about monster fighting?
Spark takes being Loretta’s teddy bear very seriously. At 11, Loretta will soon be too old for her teddy, though she and older brother Matthew, dedicated amateur filmmakers, create movies starring plush toys. Spark knows that being a bear is about more than childish snuggling at night, for Spark is a proud member of the League of Ursus, the society of warrior stuffed toys that since some long-ago era has protected humans from monsters. But even Spark’s bearish demeanor is barely enough to fight off the horrific monster in Loretta’s bedroom, with its massive scorpion tail and horned human head. Could the monster be connected to the disappearance of Loretta’s friend Sofia? Spark and the other neighborhood toys are unlikely heroes, but their fight is hardly adorable or safe. When a bear is nearly disemboweled by the monster, the description of trailing innards consisting of “an enormous bundle of brown thread” somehow increases the violence of the injury. As in Matthew and Loretta’s YouTube movies, a “deadly serious story acted out by ridiculous stuffed animals” is attention-grabbing. The human children are of indeterminate race. Matthew has a genetic condition that has led to mobility issues, and another child has a disability that’s mentioned in passing.
Great for those kids who’ll happily read about teddies and who enjoy genuinely scary monsters. (Fantasy. 9-11)