So pleased to begin celebrating Asian American Pacific Islander Month here at The Frumious Consortium with this surrealist delight of a children’s book! Toasty is a piece of toast who loves dogs and really, really wants to be one himself. He has a collar and a sparkly ball, but his first actual foray from home to make doggy friends at the park does not go as planned. Spoiler alert: all’s well that ends well, tho certainly not in the way Toasty expected.
My kids are OBSESSED with object animation shows, so I knew this book was going to be right up their alleys (even tho the twins have a perpetual antipathy to dogs due to their love-hate relationship with our aging bichonpoo.) My ten year-old, especially, giggled his way through reading the entire book. “The plot was random but I loved it,” was his final verdict.
The plot was, indeed, fairly random (but adorable!) as it centers Toasty’s desire to belong and to be loved. Sarah Hwang’s debut as an author presents universal themes in a manner light enough for young children to grasp. Her art looks deceptively simple, with broad, visible strokes that evoke the drawings of her young readers, but is crammed with expressiveness and lacks any of the murkiness that is the occasional drawback of the quasi-fauvist art style.
A delightful debut, with silliness balancing out the heavier themes of belonging and love. I’m really looking forward to reading and sharing more of Ms Hwang’s work with my kids in future.
Toasty by Sarah Hwang was published May 4 2021 by Holiday House and is available from all good booksellers, including