BOOK: 'Traction Man' series anything but ordinary“Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey” is the third book about the action figure and his loyal pet, Scrubbing Brush. This time, he gathers his gear to explore the Wide Ocean.
By: Jean Patrick, Republic Book Columnist
If you’ve read anything by Mimi Grey, you know that her books are far from ordinary.
“Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey” is the third book about the action figure and his loyal pet, Scrubbing Brush. This time, he gathers his gear to explore the Wide Ocean.
Illustrated in graphic format, Traction Man and Scrubbing Brush survive the crevices of the Rockpool and defend a picnic lunch from Truffles the Puppy.
But Traction Man is never the superhero he wants to be.
When Truffles buries him like a bone, it’s Scrubbing Brush who digs him out. When he’s carried out to sea, he’s rescued by a black dog and a girl with a Beachtime Brenda bucket. When held captive in the Dollies’ sand castle, he’s rendered helpless in a shell hat and floral sarong.
This is where things get unconventional. Instead of overcoming challenges and becoming the hero, Traction Man keeps fading.
When the earthquake hits (caused by Truffles’ dig-and-rescue mission), it’s the Dollies who figure out that a flip-flop will protect them from falling rubble. Quickly, Traction Man’s story is replaced by a new story about the Dollies finding magma as they dig for the center of the earth.
In other words, Traction Man’s story gets washed away. To say the least, it’s totally confusing.
But after about the fifth reading, I began to figure things out, thanks to a subtle illustration of the two dogs and the boy and the girl who own Traction Man and the Dollies.
My hunch is that the new adventures aren’t just offbeat story beginnings. Rather, they show the new friendship of the boy and the girl (even though we never actually see them interacting) and the ever-changing roles of their toys when they play together.
Meanwhile, the book has plenty of humor, ranging from Traction Man’s seaweed beard to Grey’s tongue-in-cheek description of the Beachtime Brenda doll and accessories.
Like I said, Mimi Grey’s books are never conventional. However, they’re a puzzle and a treat for the imaginative reader.