Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader, volunteers reading the Bible to the elderly, and makes handmade jewelry. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughter-in-laws, and one granddaughter.
Authors: Ken and Angie Lake
Illustrators: Vishnu Madhav and Joyson Loitongbam
Publisher: Sweet Cherry Publishing
toy, hear this rhyme,
Let it take you back in time,
Tales of sadness or of glory,
Little toy, reveal your story.”
Robin’s grandpa casts his magic spell on the toys in Ken and Angie Lake’s series, The Diaries of Robin’s Toys.
Targeted toward preschool to middle school aged children, this series contains ten small ninety-six page paperbacks in a sturdy cardboard holder. With no scary or violent scenes, each story is ideal to be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated words. Having different punctuation, capitalization, and spelling rules in the United Kingdom, the format may confuse American readers. Written on notebook-looking lined paper with easy-to-read font, the black and white illustrations by Madhav and Loitongbam are simplistic yet understandable.
All ten tales are similar in format, offering a story of a young boy named Robin who is compassionate and observant of others. Every story has his grandad taking him to a car boot sale (similar to a swap meet in America), where the young boy is allowed to pick out a toy. After Robin selects the item, Grandad casts a special spell on it, knowing it has an interesting story to tell.
Throughout the stories, Grandad always buys Grandma special gifts too, giving different responses each time when given them. She always has a special dessert to offer the two.
The toys include a bee, cow, cod, donkey, camel, rabbit, gorilla and his pet dog, lion, giraffe, and reindeer. When the magic spells are cast upon them, they always give information about themselves, where they live, what they eat, et cetera.
Each toy tells a story of how it learned a lesson. It could be about working together as a team, reaching out to others, not hanging with the wrong crowd, having humility, or learning to adapt to others’ personalities.
At the end of each yarn, Robin learns a lesson from the animal that can be shared with the person initially mentioned in the book’s beginning, ranging from kindness and thoughtfulness to friendship and not making fun of someone.
By teaching children values and morals, this book not only focuses on respecting others, it provides information on animals that is fun and interesting. Children will enjoy reading how a toy’s story reveals engaging educational information while teaching an important lesson. With two books rated three of five stars and a silly one a five, the four-star rating for the series is aptly given.
Thanks to the publisher and Bookpleasures for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review of the reader’s honest opinion.