THE MARVELOUS TOY. By Tom Paxton. Illustrated by Steve Cox. For ages 4-8. Imagine/Peter Yarrow Books. 26 pages. $17.95.
If you don't recognize the title, it won't take long for the words to begin tickling your memories.
Tom Paxton's "The Marvelous Toy" folk song is a childhood favorite for millions. With lyrics like "It went zip! when it moved/And bop! when it stopped/And whirr! when it stood still," this song celebrates a child's sense of wonderment.
Recording artists including John Denver and Peter, Paul and Mary entertained fans for decades with its energetic lyrics.
In this picture book adaptation, a father comes home with a new toy for his son. His son doesn't know what it is but knows it's amazing. The boy owns quite a few toys, as evidenced in the pictures, but none capture his imagination like this marvelous toy. As the last page turns, the boy is an adult handing the toy down to his son, and the excitement continues.
Steve Cox brings the marvelous toy to life with vibrant colors and energy. He illustrates the father and son well, but keeps them subdued and basic so that the focus is always on the toy and the action.
The nicest touch is that he never shows us the entire toy, only allowing us glimpses and streaks of color.
With this book, a new generation of kids will enjoy "The Marvelous Toy." This particular edition is accompanied by a CD, including Paxton's own version of the song and a couple of bonus recordings.
McGeath Freeman reviews children's books for Lowcountry Parent magazine. To see previous reviews, go to lowcountryparent.com.