ONWARD IS BEST by Sarah Jean Linquist


A Christmas Journey
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In this holiday offering, sincere (yet anxiety-prone) Dolly runs away from Santa’s warehouse to avoid possible rejection on Christmas morning.

Dolly is a toy with an inferiority complex. She is terrified that she won’t make her new owner happy. Shocked that her fellow toys are so willing to enter the unknown of the Wrapping Room, Dolly disappears into the night. In Dorothy Gale–like fashion, she meets a number of fanciful characters on her journey through Paper Land, Metal Land and Teddy Bear Land. Ultimately, Dolly decides her own fate with these new friends by her side. Artist and debut author Linquist creates a charming tale of a little doll who, like many schoolchildren, worries about being loved and accepted in a foreign environment. Linquist, who died of ovarian cancer in 2010, couldn’t complete the book, but her sisters collaborated to make her vision a reality. Dolly’s story comes alive through collage, photography and computer-generated art. The toys themselves have more visual appeal for adults than children. Some, like the pinecone with a head and pipe-cleaner arms, seem like inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys. Indeed, the sophistication of the art and text restrict the audience to adults and children with long and steady attention spans. Currently, this gilt-edged, coffee-table–sized hardcover is a limited-edition offering. Though the package works beautifully as a tribute to Linquist, a different trim size would have given the book more appeal to slightly older readers. So many Christmas books center on the thrill of opening a new toy—or the excitement of being that wished-for toy—that it’s refreshing to view this event through new eyes.

An attractive book for the patient and thoughtful young reader.

Page count: 104pp
Publisher: On The Wall Productions
Program: Kirkus Indie
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