STARRED REVIEW
August 14, 2018

A land where toys live forever

By Kate Saunders
Review by

When Emily’s sister Holly died, she was buried with her beloved teddy bear, Bluey. Emily had entertained Holly throughout her short life with wonderful imaginings of Bluey’s adventures set in the fantasy world of Smockeroon. All of the stories about Bluey now seem lost to Emily, until the night something fantastic happens.

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When Emily’s sister Holly died, she was buried with her beloved teddy bear, Bluey. Emily had entertained Holly throughout her short life with wonderful imaginings of Bluey’s adventures set in the fantasy world of Smockeroon. All of the stories about Bluey now seem lost to Emily—until the night something fantastic happens.

Emily discovers talking stuffed animals in Holly’s empty room and learns that they had once belonged to the son of Emily’s neighbor, a teen who died many years earlier. The toys speak of their world—the same world as Emily’s own imagined Smockeroon!—and describe it as a place where abandoned toys live and play with their deceased human owners. After hearing this, Emily becomes obsessed with the idea of connecting with Bluey in Smockeroon. She hopes that Bluey can connect her to Holly once again.

Emily’s interactions with the toys are charmingly portrayed. Even though 11-year-old Emily has just begun secondary school and is a bit old for toys, she is still child enough to thrill at their animated existence. British author Kate Saunders realistically portrays the arc of grief—from Emily’s initial unbearable longing to her reckless pursuit of Bluey—until she is finally willing to let the toys go. In an afterword, Saunders recounts the loss of her own son and the process of resurrecting his old toys through this novel. The Land of Neverendings is a sweet, funny story that will appeal to readers poised on the brink of separation from childhood toys, as well as those journeying through the grief process.

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The Land of Neverendings

The Land of Neverendings

By Kate Saunders
Delacorte
ISBN 9780553497892

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