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The Marvelous Toy [With CD (Audio)]


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It's a major publishing event! For nearly half a century, "The Marvelous Toy"--composed by the legendary singer/songwriter Tom Paxton--has enchanted children and adults alike. A simple tale about a mysterious, magical, and mystical toy that a father gives to his son--and that eventually gets passed down to the next generation--it celebrates a child's sense of wonder. The witty, evocative lyrics spark the imagination. No surprise, then, that the song has been recorded by countless major artists, from Peter, Paul, and Mary to the Chad Mitchell Trio to John Denver, and won legions of fans through the years. Paxton's marvelous song has finally become a stunning picture book--oversized, wonderfully packaged, and complete with a CD offering three songs sung by Tom himself plus a music-only version of "The Marvelous Toy" to sing along with. Featuring incredible and wildly imaginative art by Steve Cox, illustrator of the award-winning PIGS MIGHT FLY, the story is now as amazing to look at as it always has been to listen to. Parents, grandparents, friends, and family worldwide will remember this classic from their own youth--and joyfully share it with their


An imagination teaser that has beguiled families since it was introduced in 1961, folksinger Paxton's (Going to the Zoo) eponymous song makes an uneasy transition to the picture-book medium. The appeal of the lyrics lies largely in their inherent mystery‘"It went ZIP when it moved/ And BOP when it stopped/ And WHIRR when it stood still./ I never knew just what it was/ And I guess I never will." Committing the song to print, therefore, and more specifically, to illustration, is somewhat akin to pinning down a butterfly in a display case, even if the image provided by the illustrator is of an unidentifiable thingamajig. Though the song lends itself to a read-aloud very nicely, and though Sayles's soft, warmly lit pastel illustrations certainly hint at the mystery (the toy scooting under a chair in one scene, only its tail visible, for instance), this visualized version takes a lot of the fun out of it. Musical notation is included on the endpapers. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)

PreS-K‘Fans of Paxton's catchy tune about a mysterious and much-loved toy will appreciate this picture-book adaptation. For those unfamiliar with the song, the melody is included on the end pages. This will make the book accessible to a wider audience, as the text seems awkward when read aloud rather than sung. Brief verses describe the narrator's delight on receiving an unusual gift from his father and his pleasure years later in passing the toy along to his own son. Sayles's illustrations, in richly textured pastels, effectively evoke both past and present using details of dress and decoration. Most importantly, the artist creates a satisfyingly unique "marvelous toy" (shown in tantalizing glimpses and only seen in its entirety at the end of the book) that fits the description presented in the song, yet still retains an element of mystery. She also incorporates the refrain's energetic onomatopoeic terms ("Zip, Bob, Whirr") into several of her double-page spreads in a way that conveys both movement and magic. The combination of cozy charm and unpredictable whimsy is a perfect match for the playful text, ensuring that this illustrated version of a favorite children's song will be welcomed by those who enjoy sharing musical books with young listeners.‘Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

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