Welcome, little one. You have been chosen to join us, in the dark and in the light, in love and in cloth, in safety and in danger. You join us.
Everyone thinks that Clark is too old to still play with stuffed animals. He's almost eleven! Bullies target him at school while his mother tries increasingly un-subtle ways to wean him off his toys and introduce more "normal" interests. But Clark can't shake the feeling that his stuffed friends are important, even necessary. Sometimes they move around in the night and sometimes in the morning they look a little worse for wear, as if they've engaged in battle. And it turns out . . . he's right.
Clark's dad is under attack by a nefarious, shadowy monster called a King Derker, and only Clark's stuffies are able to fight him off. The problem is, no one believes Clark, and when his mom tries to rid the house of stuffed animals to try to get him to grow up, she's actually putting Clark's dad and the entire household in mortal peril. Now it's up to Clark's grandma-made sock animal, Foon, to save the day. Luckily, being handmade by a loved one gives Foon extra battle points, but he's still a brand-new stuffy. Does he have what it takes to rid Clark's house of all its monsters?
Told through both Clark's and Foon's points of view, Stuffed confirms every kid's dream: that stuffed animals do have a life and a purpose, and that sometimes the most unconventional friendships are also the most valuable.
Fourth grade has ended, and ahead lies a summer of reading, swimming, and most importantly for Clark, who lives in mortal fear of monsters short nights. Though he knows he's a tad old for his stuffed animal collection, he also believes in its protective force. When a monster begins seeping life from his dad, who turns "pale and lifeless and confused," Clark tries to use his stuffy army to protect him. But Clark's mother, worried about his stuffies "obsession," packs him off to a week of camp to improve his "social skills." Even worse, she forbids him from taking any stuffies along, though his grandmother, who is battling cancer, saves the day by creating a powerful stuffy, Foon, which she insists accompany him. Clark's camp friends educate him about monsters, but it's ultimately Foon who takes on the deadly monster that is feeding on Clark's father. Braswell (Disney's Twisted Tales series) uses Clark's and Foon's first-person narratives interspersed with stuffy patterns throughout to convey Clark's fears and his family dynamic, his struggle to make friends, and the power of love over fear. Ages 8 12.