Toys Come Home
Being the Early Experiences of an Intelligent Stingray, a Brave Buffalo, and a Brand-New Someone Called Plastic


A book of stories, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky; Random House, 2011.

Fans of Toys Go Out and Toy Dance Party, as well as newcomers, will happily discover how Lumphy, StingRay, and Plastic came to live with the Girl.

In six linked adventures, readers will also learn how the one-eared Sheep became one-eared; watch a cranky toy meet an unfortunate end; and best of all, learn why it's okay for someone you truly love to puke on you. 

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about Lumphy, StingRay and Plastic. Or view the teacher resources page for classroom and book club activities. 

Picture book companion to the series:  Toys Meet Snow.


What People Say about Toys Come Home:

"Wonderful language, full of rich words and sounds...perhaps the most charming account of puking ever typed...Wholly satisfying."

          -Booklist, starred review 

"Each story in this collection dares to talk about big ideas in little settings in a way that kids can understand. To accomplish this is a near impossible feat. I am awed."

          -Fuse #8 on School Library Journal 

"Who could imagine the introduction of a self-conscious stingray could lead to such great things?...Life's brutal realities are spotlighted with a gleaming authenticity...Character-driven episodes unfold in six fully realized chapters...A cozy self-contained ending depicts the security found in hearth and home."

          - Kirkus, starred review

Read a little bit of the book:

StingRay woke up. She had never been awake before, but she could hear a scissor scoring the top of a cardboard box above her head. A box from a toy company. StingRay was squashed in that box, inside yet another box wrapped in shiny blue paper and tied with pink ribbon. She woke with a feeling like she'd been waiting, asleep, for a very long time.

She had been dreaming while she slept: the same dream over and over, about a wooden crate filled with other plush stingrays, packed with flippers touching flippers, tummies touching tails.

It was a mellow, cozy dream. The stingrays were still. The sounds were muffled.

It was a dream of something like a family, StingRay thinks.

Though she isn't entirely sure what a family is.

The word just came to her and she used it, inside her head.

"I am an intelligent stingray," she thinks to herself. "To just have a word come to me and to know it's the right word. In fact, now that I consider it, I know a lot of things! For instance,

I know that I'm a stingray,

And that a stingray is an extra special kind of fish,

And that blue is the very best color anything can possibly be,

And that people are people,

And kids are baby people,

And that a kid would probably like to play with me some day.

I know all this stuff without being told. It's practically like magic, the knowledge I have. I hope the rest of the world isn't too jealous of me."