Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

  • Toy Dance Party
  • Written by Emily Jenkins
    Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780375855252
  • Our Price: $6.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - Toy Dance Party

Buy now from Random House

See more online stores - Toy Dance Party

Buy now from Random House

See more online stores - Toy Dance Party

Toy Dance Party

    Select a Format:
  • Book
  • eBook

Written by Emily JenkinsAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Emily Jenkins
Illustrated by Paul O. ZelinskyAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Paul O. Zelinsky


List Price: $6.99


On Sale: December 01, 2010
Pages: 176 | ISBN: 978-0-375-98280-4
Published by : Schwartz & Wade RH Childrens Books
Toy Dance Party Cover

Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - Toy Dance Party
  • Email this page - Toy Dance Party
  • Print this page - Toy Dance Party


Here is the second book in the highly acclaimed Toys Trilogy, which includes the companion books Toys Go Out and Toys Come Home.

Lumphy, Stingray, and Plastic are back! And this time the lovable trio finds that their little girl has left for winter vacation and taken a box of dominoes, a stegosaurus puzzle, and two Barbie dolls—but not them. Could she have forgotten them?

As the girl starts to grow up, the three best friends must join together to brave a blizzard, save the toy mice from the vacuum, and make sure that they’ll always have the little girl’s love. (And they still have time to throw an all-out dance party with the washing machine!)

From the Hardcover edition.
Paul O. Zelinsky

About Paul O. Zelinsky

Paul O. Zelinsky - Toy Dance Party
"It's a little surprising to me, when I think back over my childhood in suburban Chicago, and recall the things I liked and the things I did, that I never considered the possibility of becoming a book illustrator. During my elementary school years I was always collaborating with classmates to create imaginary worlds and the stories to take place in them and putting it all down in pictures.

"In the third grade I drew bestiaries of ridiculous animals, their habits and habitats; in fifth grade my best friend and I, working through the mail, developed an island world of two competing countries. I think they were called Igglebeania and Squigglebeania (I know we never did agree about the spelling), and they teemed with colorful characters and important incidents. They now, like Atlantis, are lost to the world. At fourteen we wrote a novel about a monkey astronaut who saves the world from encroaching gorillas. Of course I made the pictures, and my friend's father took it on himself to send our opus out to real publishers for their consideration. It was with no small shock that several years ago, as I was leafing through my friend's scrapbook, I lit on a polite rejection letter from a publisher who was now a friend and with whom I had just published two books!

"The earliest books that were important to me were, as far as I was concerned, not written or illustrated by anybody -- they just appeared in the library or in my room. The Color Kittens and The Tawny Scrawny Lion and many others that I can and can't remember filled my young childhood. It's the pictures that I remember, for the most part.

"Some years later I had book heroes: William Pene du Bois and Robert Lawson were the most lasting. I especially loved The Twenty-One Balloons and The Fantastic Flight. It didn't occur to me that these writers were real people living in houses somewhere and doing real things.

"Then a few years ago when I was driving in Connecticut with some friends they happened to mention that Robert Lawson had lived nearby. Inside my head, I jumped. Robert Lawson lived in a real place? In this world? Not having thought about it since my childhood, it seems I still harbored the notion that the man was just a paragraph on a book jacket flap. Now I guess that I, too, am taking a place on the back flap of book jackets. What the children reading my books will make me out to be, if anything, I can't guess. But it really doesn't matter: it's not the authors they should remember, it's the books. (Or maybe, for the most part the pictures!)"

Known for his versatility, Mr. Zelinsky does not feel his work represents a specific style. "I want the pictures to speak in the same voice as the words. This desire has led me to try various kinds of drawings in different books. I have used quite a wide stretch of styles, and I'm fortunate to have been asked to illustrate such a range of stories."

Paul Zelinsky was born in Evanston, Illinois. He attended Yale University, where he took a course with Maurice Sendak, which later inspired him to pursue a career in children's books. Afterwards he received a graduate degree in painting from Tyler School of Art, in Philadelphia and Rome. Paul Zelinsky lives in New York with his wife, Deborah, and the younger of their two daughters.

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.

Praise | Awards


Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2008:
"Poignant and compelling, this sequel sparkles."

From the Hardcover edition.


WINNER 2008 Kirkus Reviews Best ChildrenÂ’s Books
WINNER Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices
WINNER IRA--CBC Children's Choice
Teachers Guide

Teacher's Guide


Meet Lumphy, Stingray, and Plastic!

Toys coming alive? It is every child’s dream, but a reality for the Little Girl whose toys sing, dance, and play while no one is looking. Their antics around the house often get them into trouble, but they are quick to come to the rescue of their friends. They test their bravery, learn about forgiveness, and show unwavering love for the Little Girl. Follow along as these small toys create big adventures.

Grades 1–5


Emily Jenkins is the author of numerous highly acclaimed books for children. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Paul O. Zelinsky’s retelling of the classic fairy tale Rapunzel received the 1998 Caldecott Medal. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Chapter 1
The Toys Are Left In
The Girl and her family have gone on a winter vacation, and left the toys at home. They feel lonely, unloved, and a little scared that the Girl has been away for so long. Maybe she is lost? It is up to Lumphy and StingRay to find her. They head out into the snow, and run into more trouble than they expected. They certainly are happy when the Girl comes home and brings them in from the cold. The warm radiator sure feels good.
For Discussion
When you go on vacation, what do you make sure to bring? What possession is the most important to you?
Class Activity
Play the game “I Am Going on Vacation.” Sit in a circle. One students starts by saying “I am going on vacation, and I am bringing . . .” The next student repeats this phrase and the item that the last student is bringing, and then adds their own item. This process continues with each student repeating the items that all of the previous students have said as well as adding their own. This is a great test of memory!

Chapter 2
In Which There Are Wonderful Costumes and Violence Occurs
StingRay goes to the movies! When she gets home, she is excited to share the movie with all of her friends. They play pretend, with costumes and props, but the other toys are not following StingRay’s rules. They say StingRay is being a “bossyboots.” An argument between Lumphy and StingRay leaves both of them in need of help, and they have to solve their problems together.
For Discussion
What are the five senses?
Class Activity
Sensory Perception–
Ask students to select one of the following locations–amusement park, swimming pool, grocery store, zoo, or beach. Direct them through an exercise in which they close their eyes and imagine themselves in that location. What do they hear, feel, see, and smell? Have students record these observations on a piece of paper. Ask each student to read their writing aloud to the class, and see if the other students can guess the place they are describing!

Chapter 3
The Garbage-Eating Shark (Which Is Not the Same as the Possible Shark)
There is a new toy in town! But when a shark pops out of the box, the other toys run for cover in the basement. Frank, the washing machine, is so happy to have visitors, that he thinks it is time for a dance party. The toys dance and sing until they remember that they left the shark upstairs. She could have eaten everyone else by now! They run upstairs and attack the shark, not realizing that she is quite friendly and fun to have around. An apology makes the shark feel like part of the group.
For Discussion
Reread aloud the section about the dance party. (pp. 68—70) What adjectives would you use to describe the dance party? Try to think of colors, shapes, sounds, movements, and feelings.
Class Activity
Ask students to draw what they think this dance party would look like. They should have the book next to them so that they can refer back to the descriptions in the story. Be sure they include all of the characters in their picture.

Chapter 4
Concerning That Plump Mouse Bonkers, the Vacuum Cleaner, and a Friendship Between Fish
It is cleaning day and the Little Girl is in charge of vacuuming her room. All of the toys know to stay out of the way, except Bonkers. He got sucked up into the vacuum! So, the toys embark on a rescue operation. They are unsuccessful in their efforts, until the shark, being an expert chewer, gnaws through the vacuum bag leaving a hole big enough for Bonkers. The shark saves the day, and makes StingRay realize that being friends might not be such a bad idea.
For Discussion
What is the dictionary used for? How can it be helpful? Review how to use a dictionary as well as what can be found in it–words in alphabetical order, multiple definitions, parts of speech, etc.
Class Activity
Provide each student with a list of vocabulary words from this chapter: bustle, mildew, persist, finery, fiesta, immobile, thorough, pry, discernible, joggles, aperture, dispirited, jubilant, and glee. Ask them to use the dictionary to find the definitions of these words. They should record the definitions and then write sentences using each word. Allow them time to quiz each other on the meanings of these words and then create a crossword puzzle to test what they have learned.

Chapter 5
In Which There Is a Sleepover and Somebody Needs Repair
The dryer is in need of repair and Frank, the washing machine, is worried that his friend might be replaced by a stranger. Lumphy is worried too and during the toys’ sleepover, he asks everyone to wish on a star that the dryer will feel better. Lumphy knows just how to make himself dirty enough to visit Frank, and finds that the dryer is fixed. What a relief! All of toys celebrate together with a dance party.
For Discussion
Who do you love and care about?
Class Activity
Have students write a song for someone that they care about. The song can be written to the tune of a common song such as “Happy Birthday to You” or “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” Students should try to have lines that rhyme, as well as a chorus. When they are finished, ask them to sing their song to the class, as well as to the person it was written for!

Chapter 6

Let’s Do Our Nails
How observant is the Little Girl? Shark suggests that they test her by painting the Barbie box with nail polish. Plastic wonders if this is a naughty or nice thing to do, but joins in anyway. What fun the toys have painting the box! But when the Little Girl returns and sees the box and the mess the toys made, she takes the blame in front of her parents. Secretly, she knows that the toys were the ones who made her this wonderful present.
For Discussion
What does it mean to be observant? What kinds of things do you see around the classroom?
Class Activity
Ask the students to take a good look around the classroom. Have them draw the classroom as they see it. Then ask them to close their eyes. Change a few things around in the room–remove an object, move a piece of furniture, write something on the board. Then have the students open their eyes and draw the way the classroom looks now. Have them circle the items that have been changed to see how observant they are!


Final Projects
Explain the concept of personification–assigning human traits to an animal or object. Divide students into three groups. Assign each group to one of the main characters of the stories–StingRay, Lumphy, and Plastic. Ask students to create a character map that describes the physical features and personality traits of that character. They should be as specific as possible, citing examples from the story that support each trait. Then ask students to create their own personified toy. They should choose a type of toy and give it a name. Place this information on a blank character map. Have students fill in the new character map with their toy’s physical characteristics and personality traits. Be sure they draw a picture of what their toy looks like. To expand on this activity, have students write a story about the adventures of their toy!

Character Development
Throughout these books, we are able to follow the development of several characters, including the Little Girl. We watch the characters display numerous behaviors, some of which are very important in leading a positive and productive life. Others are negative traits that the characters learn to conquer and resolve. Some of the traits highlighted in these books are: facing fears, determination, greediness, giving, thoughtfulness, bravery, friendship, being judgmental, being helpful, caring, and forgiveness. Have students find examples of these in their books and discuss the situations as a class. Then pair students together and assign them to a trait. Ask them to think of a scenario that would demonstrate their trait. They can act it out in front of the class, and have their classmates determine which trait they are exhibiting.

Toys Go Out and Toy Dance Party are filled with onomatopoeias! Discuss the definition of onomatopoeia–a word that imitates the sounds associated with an object or action. Brainstorm examples together such as zoom, zip, boom, etc. Then send your students on an onomatopoeia scavenger hunt. Each student should look through their book and find as many onomatopoeias as they can, recording them on piece of paper. Ask students to read the words they found aloud and award a prize to the one who found the most!

Take your students on a journey through the animal kingdom. Collect nonfiction books from the library on stingrays, buffaloes, mice, sheep, and sharks. Pass them out to your students and give them some time to explore the information. Ask them to record three things that they learned about these animals. Now have your students choose their favorite animal. Ask them to use credible Web sites to gather information about that animal such as physical characteristics, habitat, diet, offspring, and protection against predators. They should print out pictures as well as informational passages. Students can compile this information on a display board to show off all they have learned.


* “Poignant and compelling, this sequel sparkles.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred


These books are a collection of linked stories that entwine the lives of the Little Girl and her bedroom toys. Take your students on a journey to learn about friendship, facing fears, and how to be part of a group. Discussion questions lead to class activities that explore character traits, literary tools, and reading comprehension strategies. By allowing your students to share in the adventures, you will see them engage in these stories like true readers!

Download a PDF of the Teacher's Guide
Emily Jenkins

Emily Jenkins Events>

Emily Jenkins - Toy Dance Party
18 W 18TH ST
NEW YORK, NY 10011-4607
Map It

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: