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Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey by Mini…
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Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey

by Mini Grey

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Another blockbuster action adventure! Willl this be a spin-off series, or will they work together again? Can't wait! ( )
  2wonderY | Jun 18, 2014 |
You know, I really love Traction Man. I love the dry tone of the text: "Traction Man is wearing quite a lot of seaweed." I love the secret-life-of-toys theme and the model of organic imaginative play.

But the books do have an all-boy vibe, and I have to admit that the endpapers showing all of Beach-Time Brenda's accessories, and Traction Man's appearance at the dolls' castle ("wearing seaweed hair and beard, a shell hat, a light dusting of sand and a floral sarong") set me up to expect some pretty traditional gender roles in the dolls that appear in this installment. While there are some girly bits (serving ice cream, the decorated castle) the dolls also make a plan and take action when the castle crumbles ("Here, let's deflect the rubble using this flip-flop...while I carry your pet to safety") and while they decide together to rebuild the castle, the next page shows the Dollies "digging an exploration hole to the Center of the Earth" with Traction Man. ("I think I see magma," says one doll, "We must be nearly at the Core." "More light in the hole, please, Scrubbing Brush!" says the other. Even in the comic strip on the back endpapers, which starts with Beach Time Brenda waiting to serve guests treats at a party, winds up with Traction Man and Brenda confronted with a sea monster, and Brenda is the one who says, "Maybe we can make contact with it."

Thanks, Mini Grey. ( )
  MelissaZD | Dec 31, 2013 |
You know, I really love Traction Man. I love the dry tone of the text: "Traction Man is wearing quite a lot of seaweed." I love the secret-life-of-toys theme and the model of organic imaginative play.

But the books do have an all-boy vibe, and I have to admit that the endpapers showing all of Beach-Time Brenda's accessories, and Traction Man's appearance at the dolls' castle ("wearing seaweed hair and beard, a shell hat, a light dusting of sand and a floral sarong") set me up to expect some pretty traditional gender roles in the dolls that appear in this installment. While there are some girly bits (serving ice cream, the decorated castle) the dolls also make a plan and take action when the castle crumbles ("Here, let's deflect the rubble using this flip-flop...while I carry your pet to safety") and while they decide together to rebuild the castle, the next page shows the Dollies "digging an exploration hole to the Center of the Earth" with Traction Man. ("I think I see magma," says one doll, "We must be nearly at the Core." "More light in the hole, please, Scrubbing Brush!" says the other. Even in the comic strip on the back endpapers, which starts with Beach Time Brenda waiting to serve guests treats at a party, winds up with Traction Man and Brenda confronted with a sea monster, and Brenda is the one who says, "Maybe we can make contact with it."

Thanks, Mini Grey. ( )
  MelissaZD | Dec 31, 2013 |
That redoubtable action-figure Traction Man returns in this third picture-book devoted to his adventures, enjoying a day at the beach with his faithful companion, Scrubbing Brush. Exploring a secluded rock pool, defending the family's picnic lunch from an over-eager puppy, and being washed out to sea on a plastic bottle - it's all in a day's work for Traction Man. When the action-figure/scrubbing-brush duo are rescued by a young girl and her dog, they find themselves ensconced in a crumbling sand castle, as the unwilling guests of Beachtime Brenda and her pal. Initially plotting their escape, they end up sticking around instead when the castle is destroyed, helping the dolls to rebuild, and excavating a hole to the center of the earth.

As with its two predecessors, Traction Man Is Here! and Traction Man Meets Turbo Dog, I enjoyed this imaginative tale from Mini Grey, appreciating the zany, madcap feeling of the story, and the colorful, amusing illustrations. Traction Man's expressions here are often particularly droll: his face, when "wearing" a mane of seaweed, was priceless, as was the look he exchanges with Scrubbing Brush, when they are first meeting the dolls. It's interesting that Traction Man spends some time away from his human boy, who is the implied creator of his adventures, but then, his wanderings bring the boy into contact with the girl, just as they bring him into contact with her toys, in the form of Beachtime Brenda. I liked the fact that Grey avoids stereotypes with her story, having the "girly" dolls help Traction Man and Scrubbing Brush escape the destruction of the castle, and then showing them all - action-men and dollies - working together at the end. With so much emphasis put on children playing with the "right" kind of toys - the very fact that we have to call a male doll an "action-figure" to avoid giving offense, or making people feel insecure - it was good to see her demonstrate (without didacticism) that it is all very much the same thing, for imaginative young children. ( )
1 vote AbigailAdams26 | Apr 22, 2013 |
Aquatic adventures with Traction Man. Lively and fun. ( )
  Sullywriter | Apr 3, 2013 |
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Traction Man, the action figure, and his sidekick, Scrubbing Brush, share dangerous adventures at the beach.

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