The Thingity-Jig

Peachtree. Apr. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781561459599.
Gr 2-4–One sleepless night, a very tiny bear leaves his forest home to find fun in “people town.” He is entranced by the garbage. Some of it is fun (a flute), some not so much (a stinky mattress). His favorite is the “thingity-jig,” which readers will recognize as an abandoned sofa. Bear is small, about the size of a throw pillow, so he cannot move the sofa himself. His friends cannot help because they are all asleep. So Bear invents a variety of contraptions that help him transport the thingity-jig back to the woods. The action unfolds against Litten’s illuminating nightscapes, enveloped in rich purple shadows that contrast beautifully with the shining yellow light from windows. As the sun rises, the scenes masterfully transition to the warm orange morning. Doherty’s text is at its most playful, with all manner of funny words, when Bear constructs his inventions. Her rhyming text on those pages is bouncy and fun. Once the couch is returned to the forest, the story shifts abruptly into a theme about sharing; the animals that would not help Bear take over his beloved, hard-won sofa and play on it until he yells. End papers show a quiet forest at night and a habitat teeming with excitement and ingenuity inspired by Bear’s creativeness.
VERDICT A celebration of inventiveness, in both contraption and language, this book is a lovely addition to larger collections.

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