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The Brave Little Toaster
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Gr 3-5 At what point can the pathetic fallacy become lamentable idiocy? When electric household utensils not only speak but take to the open road, when this mechanomorphism is combined with anthropomorphism and when people are run by appliances. A vacuum cleaner, an electric blanket, a lamp and a clock-radio, rallied by the pop-up of the title, leave a vacation cottage unvisited by their owner for over two years to find him in Winnipeg, Canada. On the way they meet a talking squirrel and a villainous recluse who almost junks them in the city dump. Without much strain, they elude this perfectly reasonable end and find their owner's new apartment, settle in with his newer gadgets and arrange to be swapped to (who else?) a decrepit ballerina who loves them for their special purposes. Disch writes gracefully (well above the vocabulary level indicated by the format), lacking only a believable concept or the power to impose internal logic on the unbelievable. In 78 print-crowded pages there are fewer than a dozen technically excellent, although static, soft pencil cartoons. Fantasy overload. Lillian N. Gerhardt, ``School Library Journal''

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