The Curious Adventures of the Abandoned Toys

Julian Fellowes; illustrations by S. D. Schindler

Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

When Doc the bear arrives at the dump from his former home in a children’s hospital, he’s not sure what kind of life awaits him. But the friends he finds there are determined to make his new home a welcoming one. In the gentle, classic style of The Velveteen Rabbit, the toys discover what it’s like to live on their own.

Julian Fellowes’s witty text and S. D. Schindler’s lovely, intricate art combine to make a beautiful gift book, sure to strike a chord with any child—or adult—who has ever loved a stuffed toy.


Praise for The Curious Adventures of the Abandoned Toys

Publishers Weekly, starred review:

Fellowes, a British actor, director, producer and Oscar-winning screenplay writer (for Gosford Park), presents a leisurely paced story, noteworthy for its polished delivery of a familiar theme—the afterlife of the discarded or lost toy. For years Doc, a teddy bear accessorized with a stethoscope, has comforted children in a hospital dayroom. His generosity of spirit makes him chief among “what the nurses referred to as the 'cuddly toys,’ although there was an element of impertinence in this which most of the occupants of the [toy] basket found rather irritating.” But after the hospital hastily spruces up the dayroom in preparation for a much-publicized royal visit, Doc winds up at a dump, grateful to have escaped a worse fate. The rest of the plot revolves around Doc’s adventures with his new friends, also toys separated from children and coping with their diminished status in various recognizably human ways. All rally when a threadbare stuffed rabbit arrives, inadvertently tossed into the trash instead of put into the van when his owner’s family moves to a new house, and together the toys come up with a risky scheme to reunite rabbit and boy. Schindler’s (Don’t Fidget a Feather) full-page ink-and-watercolor illustrations and his line art match the old-fashioned storytelling mood: he renders the toys and the settings with fine detail, using a realistic style to bridge the fantastic elements in the narrative. The abundance and richness of the pictures enhance this title’s attractiveness as a read-aloud, as does the elevated vocabulary—the book offers a rare combination of the soothing and stimulating. Ages 4-up. (Oct.) Publishers Weekly


Booklist, starred review:

When the dayroom of the children’s ward at Deerhurst Hospital is renovated in preparation for a royal visitor, Doc the bear and the other longtime toy residents find out that newer, shinier toys will be replacing them. Discarded and disheartened, Doc ends up in the junkyard, where he meets toy bears Humphrey and Nell; the General, a stuffed owl; and “Lady” Cora, a porcelain doll whose bitterness masks heartbreak. Junkyard life is tough, but Doc and the others find purpose by aiding an injured blackbird and by helping an old toy rabbit, mistakenly thrown away, return to its owner. The adventures require teamwork and courage, but, ultimately, the toys discover they can assist and comfort those in need—including one another. Some vocabulary may be too sophisticated for younger readers, but Fellowes exhibits a wonderful flair for both dialogue and characterization, and his descriptive narrative, touched with wit, echoes with the drama and poignancy of classic animal tales. Schindler’s enchanting, intricate artwork, ranging from black-and-white spot art to full-page color pictures, sympathetically captures the characters’ feelings of loss and rejection as well as their dignity, determination, and grace. A fine choice to open dialogue about facing adversity and the importance of compassion and community, this story is one that kids will read over and over again. --Booklist

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Julian Fellowes; illustrations by S. D. Schindler

  • JULIAN FELLOWES is an actor,writer, director, and producer.His script for Gosford Park was awarded an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, and his novel, Snobs, was a bestseller on both continents.Most recently, he wrote the book of the stage musical Mary Poppins.
    S. D. SCHINDLER has illustrated many books for children, including  Whittington (aNewbery Honor book) and Don't Fidget a Feather (an ALA Notable Book). He lives in Philadelphia.



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The Curious Adventures of the Abandoned Toys

Julian Fellowes; illustrations by S. D. Schindler