Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Cary Fagan
Illustrator:   Nicolas Debon 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Tundra Books, 2008   ISBN: 978-0887768392

It is Archibald Crimp’s birthday, and as a special treat, his parents have taken him to the city. Though his hotel room is full of wonderful gifts, Archibald is a not a happy boy. Instead, he is upset because his gifts are not unique enough, and he refuses to get out of bed until his parents give him “something I like.”

Poor Archibald’s father goes to the toy store near the hotel and after much searching, he finds a very strange looking stuffed animal. It is not a cat, or a dog, or a bunny, or a bear. According to the tag, it is a Thing-Thing. Not knowing what else to do, Archibald’s father buys the Thing-Thing and he takes it back to the hotel.

I am sorry to say that Archibald does not appreciate the gift he is given at all. In fact, he behaves very badly, throwing Thing-Thing out of the hotel window. Poor Thing-Thing has always hoped that it would be given to a child who would love it, who would play with and snuggle it. Instead, it gets thrown out of window; a sixth floor window.

As it falls down, down, and down, Thing-Thing is seen by the people on the fifth, fourth, third, and second floors. In turn, Thing-Thing catches glimpses of the people on those floors, and for a tiny moment it is a part of their lives.

In this unique and memorable picture book, we meet a stuffed animal that ends up, in a very short period of time, touching the lives of several people. Readers will be able to enjoy following Thing-Things progress, and they will rejoice when they see how the stuffed animal’s story ends. How gratifying it is to have this kind of warm happy ending in a world that often is grim and sad.