Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Grey

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Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Grey

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A witty and surreal picture book that's suitable for both reading aloud and first attempts at reading alone. It's slightly subversive in a Toy Story way, but is absolutely and utterly British. Don't miss it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2008
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0224070487

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Traction Man and Scrubbing Brush are on the North-West Slope of the Compost Heap. Traction Man is wearing his Rubber Rescue Harness, Glacier Boots and lots of rope. Scrubbing Brush is carrying LUNCH. The Ancient Potato is guiding them to the top.

And so go games played by children up and down the land with a mishmash of the latest toys and the first household items that come to hand. Indiana Jones (Indy to the cognoscenti) is top dog in my nephew's life at the moment, but before that it was Luke Skywalker and before that it was Buzz Lightyear. This game goes a little bit wrong though. Scrubbing Brush gets just that little bit too dirty and, while Turbo Man is taking a well-earned rest, naughty parents happen along and consign him to the Bin. Still worse, they replace him with Turbodog, who isn't the same at all. Who wants a new-fangled gadget when you have Scrubbing Brush to play with?

Nobody's ever made it out of the Bin alive. But that's about to change if Traction Man has anything to do with it.

It's been a long time since a picture book made me laugh aloud, but this one managed it several times. It's slightly subversive in a Toy Story kind of way, but it's also absolutely and utterly British. The child's fantasy play it describes is perfectly observed, catching the way in which a favourite teddy becomes a general, presiding over the very expensive toy soldier army, or the clothes horse gets a starring role in the FA Cup Final re-enactment. It's witty and clever and chock full of a vibrant energy you cannot resist. The fantasy world is presented in the foreground - where it should be, of course - but the real world sneaks in with asides from the grown-ups in separate panels.

The detail is just fabulous, from the Capitalised Important Words and the throwaway one liners - The Handbag Dwellers are very shy - to the bold, slightly industrial illustrations with a square-jawed Traction Man and and slightly dog-eared and hairy crusty old sweet lurking under the sofa cushions.

I can't recommend Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog highly enough. It would be fabulous to share with a three year-old, but a six or seven year-old newly confident reader would love it too. Don't miss it.

My thanks to the nice people at Jonathan Cape for sending the book.

Younger readers might also like the slightly subversive That's Not Funny by Adrian Johnson while older readers will love the equally daft Sensible Hare and the Case of Carrots by Daren King.

Booklists.jpg Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Grey is in the Top Ten Picture Books of 2008.
Booklists.jpg Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Grey is in the Top Ten Quirky Kids' Books.
Buy Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Grey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Grey at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Grey at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog by Mini Grey at Amazon.com.


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