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Children's Fiction Birthdays


by (author) Cary Fagan

illustrated by Nicolas Debon

Initial publish date
Aug 2008
Birthdays, Toys, Dolls, Puppets, Manners & Etiquette
Recommended Age
4 to 6
Recommended Grade
p to 1
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2008
    List Price

Classroom Resources

Where to buy it


Thing-Thing was neither a Teddy bear nor a rabbit; not a stuffed dog or cat. It was something like each of those, and nothing at all you could name. But it had something special. It had the hope that one day it would find a child to love it and talk to it and make it tea parties and take it to bed. A child it could love back.

Certainly Archibald Crimp was not that child. He had just thrown Thing-Thing out the open sixth-floor window of the Excelsior Hotel.

Oh, dear, thought Thing-Thing to itself. This is bad, this is very bad.

Cary Fagan and Nicolas Debon have created a story so rich in words and images that, despite taking place in a matter of seconds, Thing-Thing will be remembered as vividly as a child’s favorite toy.

About the authors

Cary Fagan is the author of eight previous novels and five books of short stories, including The Student, Great Adventures for the Faint of Heart, and A Bird's Eye. He has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Writers' Trust Fiction Award, the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, and has won the Toronto Book Award and the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Fiction. He is also an acclaimed writer of books for children, having won the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award, the IODE Jean Throop Book Award, a Mr. Christie Silver Medal, the Joan Betty Stuchner—Oy Vey!—Funniest Children's Book Award, and the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People. Fagan's work has been translated into French, Italian, German, Dutch, Spanish, Catalan, Turkish, Russian, Polish, Chinese, Korean and Persian. He still lives in his hometown of Toronto.

Cary Fagan's profile page

NICOLAS DEBON won the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for his book The Strongest Man in the World. His illustrations in Dawn Watch by Jean E. Pendziwol were nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award. He has also written and illustrated A Brave Soldier and Four Pictures by Emily Carr. A Canadian, he now lives in France.

Nicolas Debon's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Fagan’s story, and its serendipitous end, will please those on laps or large groups: Debon’s vertiginous cityscapes, with wildly varying perspectives and orientations supported by a leaping, swirling typeface, are just as good a match to the text as Thing-Thing and its new owner.”
— Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews
“…a beautifully rendered and wickedly imaginative tale of an unwanted toy, is the best of a strong bunch. Never has falling out of a building been made to seem so heartbreaking – and yet so fun to read about.”
— Books of the Year, Quill & Quire

“The toy named Thing-Thing – is the hilarious heart of this delectable picture book.”
— Top 10 for 2008, The Globe and Mail

Librarian Reviews


Thing-Thing is “not quite a bunny rabbit, but not quite a dog either.” He’s some kind of stuffed animal that Mr. Crimp buys for his son’s birthday. But Archibald throws Thing-Thing out of the Excelsior Hotel’s sixth-floor window.

Instead of being loved by a child and made “sticky with jam,” Thing-Thing finds himself falling to an uncertain future. On his way down, a variety of people catch glimpses of him from within their hotel rooms. In each case, Thing-Thing’s brief presence makes a small difference to someone. Thing-Thing eventually lands on the blanket of a crying child. Immediately, the baby stops crying; and for the first time, Thing-Thing experiences the love of a child.

Nicolas Debon includes a variety of perspectives of the falling Thing-Thing – from a mother robin looking down at him, to a wide view of the city spread out around him with Thing-Thing at the centre, to a close-up of a spider underneath a gargoyle, its web seemingly big enough to catch the falling stuffed animal. Each illustration, except for the last, is a wide double-page spread. The last one is very special because Thing-Thing’s epic adventure is over and so is the need for the wide perspective. Instead, we see a close intimate look at Thing-Thing cuddled together with the child who loves him.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2008. Vol.31 No.3.


Thing-Thing was neither a teddy bear nor a rabbit, not a stuffed dog or cat. Thing-Thing had the hope that one day it would find a child to love it. Archibald Crimp was not that child. He had just thrown Thing-Thing out the sixth-floor window of the Excelsior Hotel. Join Thing-Thing on its humorous and heartwarming journey to the ground.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2009.

Other titles by Cary Fagan

Other titles by Nicolas Debon