Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Jamie and Angus Stories

The Jamie and Angus Stories

Anne Fine
Illustrator:  Penny Dale 
For ages 6 to 8
Candlewick, 2007   ISBN: 978-0763633127

When Jamie sees a small toy Highland bull in a shop window, it is love at first sight. Jamie’s mother agrees to buy the toy, but she won’t let Jamie have it until Christmas. Jamie agrees to this readily, and while he waits for Christmas to arrive, he makes Angus (for that is the little bull’s name) a farm to live on. He also tells Angus, who is on a high shelf in a cupboard, what is going on. After all, it would not do to ignore the toy.

At long last it is Christmas Day, and Jamie finally gets to hold, cuddle, and play with Angus. The two are inseparable, and they have many grand adventures together. Not surprisingly, Angus’s silky white coat soon starts to look rather “scruffy.” Early on in their relationship Jamie removed a tag that was attached to Angus, one that said “DRY-CLEAN ONLY.” One day, when Jamie is at school, Granny decides that Angus needs to be cleaned, and not knowing about the now absent tag, she puts Angus into the washing machine. Angus comes out looking dreadful and poor Jamie is heartbroken. Granny, feeling sorry for her grandson, gets Jamie another toy highland bull that looks exactly like Angus. As he looks at the two toys, Angus comes to realize that looks are not all that important in the big scheme of things.

Any child who shares his or her life with a beloved toy will immediately identify with Jamie. There is nothing quite like the relationship a child has with a best toy friend. The six stories in this splendid award-winning book are deliciously warm and gently humorous. Anne Fine perfectly captures Jamie’s little boy world, and readers will find it easy to share in his everyday adventures.