Friday, March 22, 2024

The Thingamajig by Rilla Alexander

 It was the title on today's read, which had me smiling. I've been known to 'forget' words and names on a daily basis and do tend to grab whatever term I can in a pinch. They say that the more kids a person has, the more that person forgets...which is probably true but only because there are that many more things to remember. So, this book caught my interest.

I'm not sure if it will be too simple or not...or even what to expect...but off we go!

Note: I'm just going to shove this one onto my possible favorites of the year list because it is super cute.

by Rilla Alexander
Simon & Schuster
Picture Book
48 pages
ages 4 to 8


A young elephant is on the case to find the miscellaneous objects their animal neighbors have lost in this playful and whimsical humdinger of a picture book.

Little elephant’s parent can’t quite remember the name of the thing they’ve lost, but they need it back! While on the hunt for the misplaced thingamajig, little elephant discovers other animals are missing things as well. Snail’s hoo-pull-dee-pewp for staying safe from the sun has disappeared. So has squirrel’s shis-moo for carrying acorns. And all the ladybugs are missing the ha-bee ja-bee they use for a table.

Is there a thief on the loose—or is there a simpler explanation for where all these different doohickeys have gone? Backmatter pages explain the around-the-world origins of each nonsense word appearing in the story.


Giggles are sure to accompany this ever-growing adventure, while bringing a few new terms along the way.

It's gone! Little elephant is off on the search for this much needed object...if only he new the name. During his search, he meets many friends and asks for their help, but they're each on the search for something, too. Too bad, they can't remember the name of their objects, either. The clever frog realizes that these missing somethings can only mean one thing—a thief is in their midst. Now, they just have to figure out who it is and where their objects have gone.

From the very first page, the reader is drawn in to elephant's search and will hope that he finds whatever it is he's looking for. The mystery mounts with each met friend and their missing object, but it's the humor which takes over. Each character uses a different term for their missing object: thingamajig, ha-bee-ja-bee, etc. But it's the building list of these, which is repeated, that brings giggles and smiles. Then, comes the frog, who seems to be on the right track as he collects more detailed descriptions...which rolls right into more silliness.

The illustrations are simple, bright, and just right to let the tale hit with cuteness and humor. Each creature is easy to identify and carries personality. The atmosphere is always cheerful and the images invite to later flipping and viewing on their own.

The text is written in various fonts and flows well. It is kept short but gives enough to make it clear what is happening. Thanks to the growing list of fun words, this also increases in length at times, and these do add a silly twist while reading it aloud. These words gain even more meaning by the end of the read, where the author reveals that each term comes from a different language. The characters and terms are then identified with the originating language, which adds an educational direction, too.

It's a fun read, will have readers smiling, and even holds a wholesome message at the end. Add the educational value, and it's a treat.

And here she is...

Rilla Alexander is an Australian designer, illustrator, and artist whose work has appeared on everything from toys and teacups to buses and buildings. She explores creativity, ideas, and language through simple characters, graphic forms, and bold colors, inspiring both children and adults through books and workshops. Her picture books include The Best Book in the World, Your Rule!, Her IdeaThe New Rooster, and The Thingamajig. For more information, visit

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