Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Diaries of Robin's Toys Collection by Ken & Angie Lake (Children's, 7 years +, 8/10E)

Themes: friendships, car boot sales, helping people, animal facts, magic
Content: Some laughter, kindness.

Summary from Sweet Cherry Publishing email blurb
a 10 book series about a boy, Robin, and his Grandad. They buy a different toy for Robin in each book, and bring it to life using Grandad's magical powers. Each toy then tells them all about what it's like to be that kind of animal, and tells a fascinating story from its life. Each story is different, and teaches Robin, and the reader, an important life lesson. Some of them teach about Healthy Eating, Helping Others, Overcoming Adversity, etc.  [Nayu: detailed summaries of the individual books can be found here on Sweet Cherry Publishing.]

Nayuleska's thoughts
I received all 10 books in the collection in a nice box set. The titles are: 

1. Bertie the Bee 6. Gavin the Gorilla and Snuffles
2. Clarence the Camel 7. Geraldo the Giraffe
3. Carla the Cow 8. Leon the Lion
4. Carlos the Cod 9. Roger the Reindeer
5. Donkey Hoo-Tee 10. Taffy the Rabbit

Considering the title includes the word diaries, it is fitting that every page - even the ones with illustrations (which are either large close up of people or a wide shot filled with the car boot sale/animals which is fun to look at and see what people are doing)  on - have lines across the page. Like a diary entries start with a date and a time, before telling Robin's story. The relationship he has with his grandfather is pretty close, which was a bit bittersweet for the final few books as I had a grandad pass away last month. I kept laughing at Robin's grandparents' relationship-it's rather comical as his grandfather always gets something his grandmother doesn't want! She is an excellent baker and always has treats for them.

Each story usually starts with someone Robin sees having a problem. Robin then goes to the car boot sale with his grandfather and picks out a toy to use his grandfather's magic on. Now, the same explanation of the magic wasn't always used in each story, so for the first book I read (There isn't a specific order they need to be read in) I didn't understand what the magic was. I found it hard to fully believe in the magic because a lot of toys claimed they were real animals living in the human world - how they then get turned into toys is never explained. Some of the toys' actions are a bit wild - I realise this is fiction, but even with living toys I like some plausibility.However, the stories are clever in that there is always a moral lesson to learn, and facts about each animal is narrated by the toys making them an informative read. 

Find out more on Ken's website.

Suggested read
One of my favourite diary series with lots of illustrations & hilarity is Dork Diaries which includes Dork Diaries: Party Time! by Rachel Renee Russell (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)

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