Reviews for Traction Man Is Here


Booklist Reviews 2005 March #1
PreS-Gr. 2. Opening a present on Christmas morning, a boy finds the latest Traction Man action figure, who takes on an adventurous life of his own: diving into the soapy, underwater world of the kitchen sink; escaping the "Poisonous Dishcloth"; and adopting a "brave little scrubbing brush" as his pet. Later, Granny gives Traction Man a present: a hand-knitted green suit, complete with tie-on knit cap. Despite his obvious humiliation, Traction Man undertakes another rescue mission and triumphs once again. Though children's toys have come to life in many picture books, they are more typically soft toys and the stories usually veer toward sentimentality rather than adventure. Brightened with colorful washes and replete with patterns, the detailed illustrations show Traction Man in action, sometimes stiffly doll-like, sometimes more expressive and human, but always worth watching. Setting up the child as the creator of Traction Man's secondary world and dramatizing his narrative play, Grey portrays with precision and wit the sort of inventive thinking that toys can inspire in children. ((Reviewed March 1, 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2005 Fall
The title's handsome, square-jawed action figure, uniformed in "dazzle-painted battle pants," takes on many risky assignments. With sly good humor, British author-illustrator Grey gives life both to Traction Man and the young boy orchestrating his adventures. Her illustrations show a cheerfully disheveled home, teeming with raw material for imaginative play. Copyright 2005 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2005 #2
The title's handsome, square-jawed action figure, uniformed in "dazzle-painted battle pants," takes on many risky assignments. He swoops in to rescue farm animals held captive on Planet Quilt by "Evil Pillows." He dives into the dishwater to search for the "Lost Wreck of the Sieve," narrowly escaping the "Poisonous Dishcloth" (and gaining a faithful pet scrubbing brush in the process). But perhaps his most difficult mission is when he is forced to wear Granny's Christmas gift: the "all-in-one knitted green romper suit and matching bonnet." Even superheroes have their limits. With sly good humor, British author-illustrator Grey gives life both to Traction Man and the young boy orchestrating his adventures. Her illustrations show a cheerfully disheveled home, teeming with raw material for imaginative play. Readers may fear that the humiliating romper suit signals the end of Traction Man's career, but rest assured he finds a way out that Granny can't dispute. How else was he to rescue the spoons at the bottom of the Kitchen Cliff without valiantly unraveling his own outfit for rope? Then he's left with the perfect ensemble -- "knitted Green Swimming Pants and matching Swimming Bonnet" -- for a much-deserved beach vacation. Holy Speedo, Traction Man, you're something else! Copyright 2005 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2005 March #1
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 2005 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2005 June
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 2005 Reed Business Information.

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