PreS-K-A once-loved but now well-worn stuffed bear is tossed out after being replaced by new, clean toys. Finding himself in the garbage dump, Bear makes friends with a stuffed bumblebee. Together they explore the area, rescue dozens of other discarded toys, and dodge garbage trucks and tractors. When the big boss says they must leave, kindly workers take them to a little house on the beach, where they spend the rest of their days at play. What begins as an appealing adventure soon turns into a long, rambling tale that becomes more maudlin and implausible with each new turn. Cutouts and collages of photos of stuffed animals create interesting artwork. However, the hand-printed text is difficult for beginning readers and too long to use as a read-aloud. The author's voice is intrusive, introducing an adult sensibility to an otherwise childlike concept. The book's design is more attractive than its content.-Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
In this quirky tale about a tattered teddy's second chance, readers follow the travails of Dougal, rescued at the dump by a truck operator. Soon, a stuffed bee named Bumble joins the forlorn bear. Silly, tongue-in-cheek outings for the pair are documented in a photojournalistic style. When the rescued toys reach 45 in number, the "big boss" puts an end to their idyllic days spent pond side. The toys ultimately find a new home by the sea-with their rescuer. Dray's remarkably expressive photographs are arranged collage style on the pages. His sense of the absurd is underscored by the deadpan delivery of the commentary, which has a certain Australian panache; references to vegemite sandwiches, as well as exclamations of "blimey" and "bloomin" abound throughout the text. The juxtaposition of Dray's wry narrative with his quixotic and uniquely compelling snapshots proves engaging across the generations. A heartfelt message at tale's end regarding triumphing over adversity proves that this odd duckling of a story is truly a swan. (Picture book. 4-8)