Davin Book Poster Image




An exciting read-aloud.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

All the toys are stereotypes, and intended to be so.

Violence & scariness

Various cartoonish fights and battles among the toys. Rats and spiders are shot with arrows.

Not applicable

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.

Kids say

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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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about adventure stories. What makes this such a great adventure? What other adventures does it reference? Kids can try writing an adventure of their own, starring their own favorite toys.

Book details

Authors:Dan Gordon, Zaki Gordon
Illustrator:Dav Pilkey
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Random House
Publication date:January 1, 1997
Number of pages:170
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

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Parent of a 4 and 7 year old Written byJenF January 1, 2010

Wonderful read aloud

Loved the book from start to finish. Epic, incredible, heart wrenching, and action packed. Should be a classic.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written bylinsey-woolsey February 16, 2011

Perfect Read-aloud!

This is a very sweet book that encourages you to hunker down with your kids and drink hot chocolate while you enjoy the story. It also has plenty of humor and action as a young boy's toys try to save him from his illness by retreiving his father's old teddy bear from the wilds of the attic. The boy is near death's door and the father is missing and at war, so there are some very sad and anxious moments, but the toys save the day and all is well in the end!