By Mark Sinclair


“We can not afford it,” muses the kangaroo. “That is no concern of ours,” posits the teddy bear. Other toys tell of their own particular trials and tribulations, or simply make passing observations.

With minimal text, each page in the book works as if the reader has interrupted a conversation – the toys’ expressions complementing the tone of self-reflection. Why does the rabbit have sleepless nights? Why is the panda bear so busy in the evenings?


Shapton has rendered fragmented and fleeting imagery in her work before – 2013’s Sunday Night Movies (Drawn & Quarterly) was a book of watercolour paintings of scenes from some 80 different films, while her duotone-illustrated memoir Swimming Studies (Blue Rider Press) sought to capture bodies moving through water.

In Toys Talking, Shapton has created a charming, funny and off-beat book that will no doubt fire the imagination of her youngest readers.

Toys Talking by Leanne Shapton is published next week by Particular Books (£7.99). See


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