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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
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2008
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 4 to 6
  • Grade: p to 1


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

Acclaimed author CARY FAGAN is beloved by adults and children alike. His books include the popular Kaspar Snit novels, and Jacob Two-Two on the High Seas; Thing-Thing was a finalist for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award and made the Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire Best Books of the Year lists. He has won numerous other awards including the Jewish Book Award and the World Storytelling Award, and has twice had honour books in the Silver Birch Award. Visit him at


Cary Fagan's profile page

Nicolas Debon was born in Northern France and later moved to Nancy where he studied art at l'Ecole nationale des Beaux-Arts before moving to Toronto for ten years. His picture book The Strongest Man in the World won the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award. Nicolas currently 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