Book Review¦ When I’m choosing books for Autumn, I seem to follow one of two paths. I either go for something ridiculous and funny or something that I think she can learn an important lesson from. Toy Mountain by Stef Gemill is the latter. Modern life and consumer culture encourages children to be materialistic. There are constant adverts in their face with bright colours and fun music for toys that will just have no longevity, but to a child they look amazing. One of my biggest problems is with the craze of ‘collectibles’. Small bits of plastic that get looked at for about 10 seconds and inevitably end up in the bin within the space of a year. I was looking forward to reviewing this book in the hope that it might cause a shift in Autumn’s thinking. In fact, a lot of children could probably do with this with Christmas just being around the corner!
The story follows Sam who becomes a toy tester for a factory high up in the clouds. Tired of his old hand-me-down toys, he is keen to test toys they make that rumble, grumble and plink. His old toys soon become buried under a huge pile of new toys from the factory that all plink and plonk, beginning to break one after the other. Sam realises that his old toys were special after all and asks his Grandma and younger brother to help him rescue them. Unlike the flashy plastic toys, his drum, teddy and wooden train are all able to be played with just as they always were.
What Autumn Thought
Autumn really enjoyed the book. In fact, she’s asked for it to be read to her several times since it came in the post. She thought it was hard for Sam to throw them away as he had been so excited to have them. However, she was pleased when he went back to play with his old toys. Autumn told me she thinks that her wooden toys will last longer than her plastic ones.
Katharine Hall’s bright, fun illustrations attract children from the start. This book is very thought-provoking. It was a good base for Autumn and I to have some conversations about toys and sustainability. As the publisher’s website says, “This is a vitally important message in a world where we generate 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic each year, 79% of which goes into landfill”. It isn’t healthy to keep buying things that we know won’t last long. Yet, sadly most toys that are on offer are just that.
Toy Mountain is available from all good bookshops for £10.99.
Disclosure: We received a copy of this book in return for a review. As always, all views and opinions are honest and my own.