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Marvelous Toy
     

Marvelous Toy

by Tom Paxton, Elizabeth Sayles (Illustrator)
 
"It went ZIP when it moved and BOP when it stopped and WHIRR when it stood still. . . ." This is the classic story of a magical gift that a father gives his son, who, when he grows up, passes it on to his own son. Written in 1961, "The Marvelous Toy" is Tom Paxton's signature song, an upbeat, irresistible tune that's a favorite of baby boomers and their children.

Overview

"It went ZIP when it moved and BOP when it stopped and WHIRR when it stood still. . . ." This is the classic story of a magical gift that a father gives his son, who, when he grows up, passes it on to his own son. Written in 1961, "The Marvelous Toy" is Tom Paxton's signature song, an upbeat, irresistible tune that's a favorite of baby boomers and their children.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
An imagination teaser that has beguiled families since it was introduced in 1961, folksinger Paxton's (Going to the Zoo) eponymous song makes an uneasy transition to the picture-book medium. The appeal of the lyrics lies largely in their inherent mystery"It went ZIP when it moved/ And BOP when it stopped/ And WHIRR when it stood still./ I never knew just what it was/ And I guess I never will." Committing the song to print, therefore, and more specifically, to illustration, is somewhat akin to pinning down a butterfly in a display case, even if the image provided by the illustrator is of an unidentifiable thingamajig. Though the song lends itself to a read-aloud very nicely, and though Sayles's soft, warmly lit pastel illustrations certainly hint at the mystery (the toy scooting under a chair in one scene, only its tail visible, for instance), this visualized version takes a lot of the fun out of it. Musical notation is included on the endpapers. Ages 5-up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Karen Moroughan
For those of us who grew up hearing the song during the holiday season, part of the song's joy is the indescribable characteristics of the toy. The descriptions we heard sung really had to do with the ways in which this amazing toy sounded and the ways in which it moved. We still hear the words, " ... It went zip when it moved and bop when it stopped..." And now we have a picture book that tries to capture that wonder and surprise. Many of the pictures in the book capture expressions of wonder and amazement on the boy's face. The illustrator does a good job of portraying various perspectives, and it is these touches that make the book a delight. For the most part, Sayles is thoughtful to show only small "snatches" of the actual toy. The end of the book is unfortunate because the last two pages show the full size and shape of the toy. For the adults, this bursts our impressions of the toy. For children who have never heard the song though, the book "works." The score of the chorus is reproduced on the end pages.
School Library Journal
PreS-KFans of Paxton's catchy tune about a mysterious and much-loved toy will appreciate this picture-book adaptation. For those unfamiliar with the song, the melody is included on the end pages. This will make the book accessible to a wider audience, as the text seems awkward when read aloud rather than sung. Brief verses describe the narrator's delight on receiving an unusual gift from his father and his pleasure years later in passing the toy along to his own son. Sayles's illustrations, in richly textured pastels, effectively evoke both past and present using details of dress and decoration. Most importantly, the artist creates a satisfyingly unique "marvelous toy" (shown in tantalizing glimpses and only seen in its entirety at the end of the book) that fits the description presented in the song, yet still retains an element of mystery. She also incorporates the refrain's energetic onomatopoeic terms ("Zip, Bob, Whirr") into several of her double-page spreads in a way that conveys both movement and magic. The combination of cozy charm and unpredictable whimsy is a perfect match for the playful text, ensuring that this illustrated version of a favorite children's song will be welcomed by those who enjoy sharing musical books with young listeners.Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
Kirkus Reviews
"It went ZIP went it moved/And BOP when it stopped/And WHIRR when it stood still./I never knew just what it was,/And I guess I never will." That refrain appears periodically in a tale of a father's childhood toy, which he passes on to his son when the time is right. Some readers will recognize it as the lyrics to Paxton's song of the same name; as a picture-book text, it gallops along, and may have some heads bobbing during the chorus. The toy is truly unfathomable: Sayles gleefully depicts it as a honking, blinking, rolling robot/musical instrument that may have a vacuum cleaner in its ancestry. While her invention can never live up to the imaginary pictures readers will have installed in their minds, it certainly comes close.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688138806
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/28/1996
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.28(w) x 10.26(h) x 0.34(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Tom Paxton is one of the world’s best-known and loved singer/songwriters. In 2009, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy (The Grammy® Awards). His newest CD, Comedians & Angels, was also nominated for a Grammy®. Paxton’s influence on folk music has been inestimable: his songs have been recorded by Pete Seeger; Peter, Paul, and Mary; Joan Baez; Arlo Guthrie; and Johnny Cash. His best-known tunes include "The Last Thing on My Mind," "Ramblin' Boy," "Bottle of Wine," and "Goin' to the Zoo." He has been richly honored: he received the ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award as well as four Grammy nominations, and the Martin Guitar Company even named a guitar after him. He is a true musical treasure.

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