Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Jonadab and Rita (Alfie)

Jonadab and Rita (Alfie)

Shirley Hughes
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Random House UK, 2010   ISBN: 978-1862303133

Jonadab is a stuffed toy donkey and he lives with his little girl Minnie in an apartment in London. Minnie has lots of other stuffed animals and dolls but Jonadab's favorite friend is Rita, who is a very small and rather shy toy mouse. Jonadab and Rita have been with Minnie for as long as Minnie can remember and I am sorry to say that Minnie is so used to having these two old toys around that she rather ignores them.

One day Jonadab gets so fed up with being left at the bottom of the toy box that he decides to fly away for a while. Yes indeed, Jonadab can fly when he wishes. And so Jonadab flies to the park. When he gets there he sees an incredible gathering of fairies, elves, and gnomes. The magical beings were delighted to see Jonadab and invite him to their feast.

Jonadab loves being the center of attention and after the wonderful night is over he is content to fly back home to Minnie, imagining that she must be missing him. Alas for Jonadab! He does not get the reception he expects.

In this wonderful title by the author who brought us Dogger, Shirley Hughes introduces us to two new stuffed animal characters. Young children who themselves have felt left out of things at times will immediately identify with Jonadab. As they read about Jonadab and Rita, they will be reminded that the people who love them do not stop doing so. They are treasured and loved just as Jonadab and Rita are.

Delightful illustrations that are touched with magic perfectly compliment this warm and memorable story.