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Traction Man is Here

by Mini Grey

Publishers Weekly : Starred Review. A cluttered house, lovingly rendered in comic-book panels by Grey (The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-to-Be), provides a perilous landscape for the titular square-jawed action figure. Readers infer Traction Man's origins from a "Dear Santa" letter on the title page ("I expect you know about what happened to my old Traction Man and the Terrible Parachute Accident") and a gift-box on a sleeping boy's bed. The new Traction Man, replete with special outfits, soon meets trouble in a flowerbed and among dirty dishes: "Traction Man is diving in the foamy waters of the Sink (wearing his Sub-Aqua Suit....) Oh, no! This Poisonous Dishcloth will envelop Traction Man and suffocate him!" Pursued by the glaring, squidlike Dishcloth, Traction Man is pulled to safety by a "brave little Scrubbing Brush," portrayed as a doglike sidekick with bristles for feet. Brown-paper thought balloons with italic type indicate the real-time story line; "I think it's someone's bathtime..." signals the hero's encounter with the Mysterious Toes, which he tickles into submission. Artful watercolor panels alternate with full-page compositions, and the keyed-up narrative is printed on torn graph-paper scraps for a casual, homemade effect. Grey sets the events on a damp English Christmas, but the holiday takes the back seat to the boy's implied stage-managing of Traction Man and transformation of ordinary objects. Will Traction Man rescue the quivering Cupcake from the villainous Doctor Sock? Stay tuned. Ages 4-8. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms

School Library Journal : Starred Review. PreS-Gr 2–This imaginative and very funny romp through the fantasy play of a young boy features his newly acquired action figure. Square-jawed and equipped with combat boots, scuba gear, space suit, and camouflage, Traction Man overcomes evil pillows, dastardly brooms, a poisonous dishcloth, and a wicked spade. But he and his little scrub-brush pet seem to be no match for Granny, who presents the action figure with a nerdy knitted green romper suit and bonnet. The evil-doers laugh at his silly get-up until Scrubbing Brush unravels the yarn to help Traction Man save a clutch of hapless spoons and he is once more the heroic figure. The angular, full-color art sweeps across the pages and perfectly animates the antics of Traction Man and his enemies. Grey has a way of exactly catching the nuances of a child's ability to turn even the most common object into a friend or looming foe in the never-ending battle between good and evil. This fresh, funny hero and Grey's celebration of a child's imagination definitely have traction.– Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha's Public Library, WI

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions Inc. Terms