A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that children are encouraged to interact with the exciting story. When melodramatically read aloud, it's a sure success. The Bugle Boy models brave steadfast friendship. The toys are animated by the power of imagination, and represent characters from other stories.
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What's the story?
Curled up in bed with their cocoa and cookies, three children listen as their grandmother tells them the story of living toys on a quest--to save the life of a dying boy in blitz-wracked London during World War II.
In the heart of blitz-torn London a little boy lies dying of a fever. The doctor is helpless, and his father is somewhere in the bomb-streaked night sky, flying for the RAF.
The boy's only hope is a long-lost teddy bear called Davin, which has the power to make sick children well. As bombs rattle the house and light the sky, the boy's toys, a Civil War bugle boy, a blustery British sergeant-major, and Perseus, come to life and set off across the attic to find the legendary bear.
Along the way they must battle a cat, giant spiders and rats, and the evil toys: the Dark Knight and Blackbeard the Pirate (and their minions), who have joined forces to capture the princess who holds the key to finding Davin. They also meet up with new allies: Robin Hood; Chingachgook, the last of the Mohicans; and El Lobo, an aging Spanish swordsman.
Is it any good?
Filled with good-versus-evil action, exaggerated characters, and a number of accents, DAVIN may be the best read-aloud in years. The authors' directions provide a recipe for magic, not to mention one for pinch cookies. Gather the kids together, make the cocoa and cookies, and gather the blankets and pillows: This is not just a book, it's an experience to be savored.
Hearing it read aloud, one group of rambunctious boys ages 5 to 10 were soon performing the sound effects, drumming on the furniture as armies advanced, and echoing the plaintive cries of outrage when Grandma Goddess stopped -- always at the best part. With a multitude of pleasures for both young and old, this marvelous, exciting, old-fashioned story hearkens back to the golden age of children's literature. It should have a treasured place on the shelf of every adult who loves to read to children and every child with an active imagination. A gem of the first order, a classic in the making.