Whether you’re making it to the beach this summer, or you’re just dreaming about sand and surf, Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey will help you remember why there’s nothing like a day spent at the shore.
There are a few new characters in this offering: Granny’s excitable dog Truffles, a little girl and her own loyal hound Fluffy, and the Dollies, who look super cute dressed to match the Raspberry Ripple ice cream they share with Traction Man. As always, it’s the little adventures turned BIG that make this duo hilarious, such as when they explore “the secret crevices of the Rockpool” and lead the charge during “Operation Picnic.”
The level of detail in many of the illustrations is a big part of what makes this book (and the other Traction Man adventures) so much fun. You could spend a good twenty minutes reading the endpapers alone, as Grey introduces one of the Dollies, Beach Time Brenda, to the reader through an advertisement at the beginning and a mini-comic at the end. I love the humour. Brenda is “fully accessorized with lots and lots of stuff” and she comes with “teen tottery microshoes,” “sundowner cocktails and snacks,” and a “small plastic barbecue.” Ah Mini Grey, I get you. I really do.
The Traction Man books are all about being over the top with melodramatic adventure and dialogue that is often silly and exaggerated and therefore perfect for an action figure hero. But the best part of this whole delightful package is, I think, the way that the books celebrate good clean, honest play, the old-fashioned kind where kids are given space and a few great toys to create something themselves, a story, an adventure, and memories.
It’ll make you feel ready for anything, most certainly for more Traction Man and Scrubbing Brush.
Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey is published by Alfred A. Knopf.