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Toy Dance Party    by Emily Jenkins & Paul O. Zelinsky order for
Toy Dance Party
by Emily Jenkins
Order:  USA  Can
Schwartz & Wade, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In Toy Dance Party, the engaging sequel to Toys Go Out, Emily Jenkins continues her empathetic chapter book series about what life is like for three toys - stuffed buffalo Lumphy, plush StingRay, and Plastic the ball - in chapters entitled: The Toys are Left In; In Which There are Wonderful Costumes and Violence Occurs; The Garbage-Eating Shark; Concerning That Plump Mouse Bonkers, the Vacuum Cleaner and a Friendship Between Fish; In Which There is a Sleepover and Somebody Needs Repair; and Let's Do Our Nails. Paul O. Zelinsky's black and white illustrations do an excellent job of stimulating the young reader's imagination.

In the first chapter, the toys are left behind when the family goes on vacation. The home alone toys miss 'The Girl they love.' At first they find ways to amuse themselves. Then StingRay has a meltdown. When Lumphy concludes that the Girl is lost, he bravely heads out into the snow after her - but ends up having to be saved himself. In the second story, StingRay gets taken to the movies and tells her friends all about it on her return. But when they dress up to re-enact the story, things quickly get out of hand. In The Garbage-Eating Shark, the Girl receives a new toy that terrifies her old friends so much that they hide in the basement. They have a wonderful party, but then remember the toys they left behind and discover that an apology is in order.

In chapter four, when the family starts house cleaning, the Girl vacuums up a toy mouse and a rescue operation is required. In Chapter five, Lumphy and the others are taken on a sleepover, where the Girl ignores them to play with Barbies! But the toys make their own new friend - and hold another basement party. Finally in Let's Do Our Nails, the toys decorate to cheer themselves up, seeking 'attention and specialness.' They make a big mess ... but someone else takes the blame and loves them forever.

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