CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 12 . . . . November 18, 2011
A mouse, a tiny cat, and a huge imagination make for endless fun in these stories adapted from the animated television series, Toopy and Binoo, produced by Spectra Animation Inc., with the participation of Treehouse.
Each of the books contains four short stories. Translated from the original French by Karen Simon, each story begins in the ‘real’ world but moves quickly to a fantasy world, one filled with endless possibilities, and eventually returns to the ‘real’ world for a sometimes surprising, but always delightful, ending.
In “Toopy Goes Bananas”, for example, Toopy visits an elephant, outer space, underwater, and a dragon at the top of a tower, to find a banana for his best friend Binoo. Unsuccessful in his banana quest for a variety of hilarious reasons, Toopy offers Binoo an apple, and almost starts the quest again – until Binoo acts quickly.
For those who haven’t met Toopy and Binoo yet, Toopy is a mouse with a very vivid imagination, a naïve outlook, and an impulsive nature. His/her best friend is Binoo, a tiny cat with “a dotted line right on his belly…and when you follow it, you find …Binoo!” Equally, if not more imaginative than Toopy, Binoo is non-verbal but still manages to help readers see the situation clearly.
Together Toopy and Binoo enjoy life to the fullest, trusting in their friendship. Never moralizing, the stories invite young readers to share in the fun and imagine endless worlds of possibilities.
The colourful illustrations are taken from the television series. Children will recognize Toopy and Binoo and their friends immediately. Although the copies I reviewed were not library bound, the covers are very bright and colourful – and easily wiped clean – an important feature in books for this age.
The website address on the back cover leads to information for adults and games and videos for children. The only drawback to this series is that there are only three books. Like Paulette Bourgeois’ Franklin the turtle, I’m sure Toopy and Binoo have many more adventures left to experience. ‘Imagine’ the possibilities.
If you have preschoolers in your life, at home or at work, these books are sure to be hits.
Suzanne Pierson is a retired teacher-librarian, currently instructing Librarianship courses at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.