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The Brave Little Toaster

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Feeling abandoned by their beloved master, a vacuum cleaner, tensor lamp, electric blanket, clock radio, and toaster undertake a long and arduous journey to find him in a faraway city.


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Feeling abandoned by their beloved master, a vacuum cleaner, tensor lamp, electric blanket, clock radio, and toaster undertake a long and arduous journey to find him in a faraway city.

30 review for The Brave Little Toaster

  1. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    Disch clearly had a rather tense relationship with God, who is notorious for His sense of humor. I can hear the conversation. God: Tom, they're going to make a movie out of one of your books! Disch: Oh thank you Lord, fame at last! Which one? God: Gotcha! The Brave Little Toaster. Not that there's anything wrong with this book, or the movie for that matter, but the irony is exquisite.

  2. 5 out of 5

    "toaster" Kurt Kanarski

    This book is a testament to how inanimate objects like myself can still be brave. Back when I was a young heating coil, my Manufacturing Overlord Machine, or M.O.M. would read this book to me each and ever day, to help me be brave once I left the production line. This book has also helped me get through hard times, like last Tuesday when I accidentally burnt the Eggo's and my owner threw me out the window in rage caused by lack of breakfast, I am currently homeless, but thanks to this book I can This book is a testament to how inanimate objects like myself can still be brave. Back when I was a young heating coil, my Manufacturing Overlord Machine, or M.O.M. would read this book to me each and ever day, to help me be brave once I left the production line. This book has also helped me get through hard times, like last Tuesday when I accidentally burnt the Eggo's and my owner threw me out the window in rage caused by lack of breakfast, I am currently homeless, but thanks to this book I can stay in the middle of my ex-owners backyard knowing that as long as I am brave nothing can happen to me. Except yesterday when his dog started gnawing on my power cord... I hope that dog dies soon...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marvin

    The Brave Little Toaster was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction which I think is an important point. Its first audience was for adults and not children. The tone of the tale is rather melancholy if cute and, while I totally understand why children love it, I believe it is first and foremost a fantasy tale for adults. In the years, it has been elevated to classics status despite the really poor Disney film that was ripped from this cute but quiet novella. Avoid th The Brave Little Toaster was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction which I think is an important point. Its first audience was for adults and not children. The tone of the tale is rather melancholy if cute and, while I totally understand why children love it, I believe it is first and foremost a fantasy tale for adults. In the years, it has been elevated to classics status despite the really poor Disney film that was ripped from this cute but quiet novella. Avoid the movie but please read this book. Then read it to your kids, and their kids, and so on.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peacegal

    Ask some people about an important, life-changing film, and they are likely to name something such as The Godfather. For me, that film is The Brave Little Toaster. I watched Toaster on the evening of its premiere in 1987 and have no doubt seen it hundreds of times since. It was, and remains, my all-time favorite movie. And while I no longer make construction-paper appliances as I did in elementary school, I continue to collect "Toaster" memorabilia. I'm clearly not the only kid who was thrilled b Ask some people about an important, life-changing film, and they are likely to name something such as The Godfather. For me, that film is The Brave Little Toaster. I watched Toaster on the evening of its premiere in 1987 and have no doubt seen it hundreds of times since. It was, and remains, my all-time favorite movie. And while I no longer make construction-paper appliances as I did in elementary school, I continue to collect "Toaster" memorabilia. I'm clearly not the only kid who was thrilled by the adventures of Toaster, Kirby, and the rest--the Internet has a healthy community of now adult "Toaster" devotees. This is the book that inspired the animated film. I still have the copy my mom and I special-ordered at a long-gone bookstore soon after I saw the film. Recently, I found my yellowing copy and decided to re-read it. I still remember the confusion I felt upon seeing the cover illustration. I had come to know the characters as their animated incarnations, which look almost nothing like the book's interpretation. The movie follows the book's same basic plot, although it ends quite differently. The movie's writers added quite a bit more peril to the book, such as the climactic terrifying scene at the dump. The book has a bit of an old-fashioned feel, as another reviewer has commented--at one point, the Radio even makes a Polish joke! It probably sounds strange to say "The Brave Little Toaster" influenced the direction of your life, but I'm going to say it--I think this movie had more influence upon me than any other media I viewed as a child. I rate this book 5 stars because it gave us the movie, and the world of animation would be a dimmer place without it.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Axolotl

    Typical of Disch, the story is inventive and sensitive. Yet, untypically--from the books by this author which I've managed to read as yet (I plan to read all of his books sooner or later and first fell in love after reading Camp Concentration)--it is tender and very cute. However, despite the interesting conceit and the simplicity of the tale itself, I wouldn't say that it was truly written for the under ten crowd necessarily. Though I suppose, if the children in question possess prodigious voca Typical of Disch, the story is inventive and sensitive. Yet, untypically--from the books by this author which I've managed to read as yet (I plan to read all of his books sooner or later and first fell in love after reading Camp Concentration)--it is tender and very cute. However, despite the interesting conceit and the simplicity of the tale itself, I wouldn't say that it was truly written for the under ten crowd necessarily. Though I suppose, if the children in question possess prodigious vocabularies and attention levels, they might fare just fine with it. But from my experiences with this age group, I would say that such a reader, at such an age, is an extreme rarity. The language and sentence structure of the book seemed unnecessarily (almost willfully) complex at times for a child, and I think most would end up switching off as a result. It makes me wonder if Disch intended it as a "kids" book best enjoyed by adults. On the other hand, children do not have to understand every word of a bedtime story in order to remain engaged and it is good to expose them to unfamiliar language constructions to ensure the future literacy of the human race, which many seem to fear is slipping ever steadily downward.

  6. 4 out of 5

    James Steele

    Written with all the formality and eloquence of a children’s book from the nineteenth century, The Brave Little Toaster is the story about five appliances in a remote, abandoned cabin who travel across the forest to find their master. Think Homeward Bound, but with a toaster, a hoover, an electric blanket, a radio and a lamp. These ordinary household appliances are in the forest on a journey to find their master. Most appliances just sit alone and accept their fate, but not them. They love their Written with all the formality and eloquence of a children’s book from the nineteenth century, The Brave Little Toaster is the story about five appliances in a remote, abandoned cabin who travel across the forest to find their master. Think Homeward Bound, but with a toaster, a hoover, an electric blanket, a radio and a lamp. These ordinary household appliances are in the forest on a journey to find their master. Most appliances just sit alone and accept their fate, but not them. They love their master, and they're not going to believe they've been abandoned. They take matters into their own hands, all thanks to the toaster who pushes them out the door. The story charmed me. It’s written like Bambi and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and the old-style children’s story format makes it seem more authentic. Even perfectly natural. It just takes for granted that appliances come to life when people aren't looking. It never explains itself, which encourages us to accept it and move on. It loosely creates the world of the inanimate objects. It imbues appliances with hopes, dreams, and even fears, all related in some way to their function. Each appliance sees the world a little different. For example, the blanket is not too friendly with the air conditioner because the blanket doesn’t have any good feelings for an appliance whose function is to make things colder. It makes sense. It's how an appliance would think. One of my favorite details is the description of the the toaster taking time out to be by itself and toast pretend pieces of bread, since it lacks real bread or english muffins. The way it’s described made me feel the toaster's joy, feel its hope. Toaster wants to give its all to its master, and just thinking of toasting a perfect english muffin for him fills the toaster with glee. It’s adorable! But first they have to survive the pirates! People who steal appliances from their rightful owners and force them to do their bidding instead! And when the radio is held hostage by a pirate in the junkyard, they will have to break a couple rules to free him. Nope, these appliances do NOT accept their fate! They're calling the shots now! After everything they go through to find their master, it ends, appropriately, like a fairytale. It’s such a cute little story that everyone can identify with. The appliances want to be useful. Probably the most basic need of any animate or inanimate object. They want to serve their master, and they’ll go to any length to find him. It’s a story I read with a smile. I did a book/movie comparison on my blog.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rottgrl88

    Love this story. So cute, so warming, so heartfelt and a must read for children of all ages. Has a great message and a emotional adventure. If you haven't read this story before, you must check it out!! Love this story. So cute, so warming, so heartfelt and a must read for children of all ages. Has a great message and a emotional adventure. If you haven't read this story before, you must check it out!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Craig

    It's easy to find the movie version, but the book is somewhat harder to track down. Its major appeal is its appealingly spunky main characters and -- which I imagine is harder to translate to screen -- its whimsical tone. The world here anticipates Toy Story: appliances have a rich life of their own, but live to serve their master. Whenever humans appear, they become inert and lose any self-determination. Honestly, I was never 100% comfortable wit this message of joyful servitude, but given the p It's easy to find the movie version, but the book is somewhat harder to track down. Its major appeal is its appealingly spunky main characters and -- which I imagine is harder to translate to screen -- its whimsical tone. The world here anticipates Toy Story: appliances have a rich life of their own, but live to serve their master. Whenever humans appear, they become inert and lose any self-determination. Honestly, I was never 100% comfortable wit this message of joyful servitude, but given the plot of the book is that master is missing, you don't have much opportunity to notice. The tone is best captured by the opening poem: how you find it -- cute or cloying or dumb -- is how you'll find the book. 'Lives a man with soul so dead/ He's never to his toaster said/.../ Such words of friendship and advice/ As "How are things with you tonight?"/ Or "Not too dark but not too light."'

  9. 5 out of 5

    Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

    Many years ago I saw a video of the animation of this story in a shop and loved the title, but didn't buy it. I ran across the original story the other day so I gave it a look. It pretends to be a bedtime story, but for appliances, not children! And the text is definitely not directed towards small children, what with the squirrels and their obsession with the male/female divide and their dubious taste in jokes. The story can be read on several levels, and interpreted as a fable denouncing today' Many years ago I saw a video of the animation of this story in a shop and loved the title, but didn't buy it. I ran across the original story the other day so I gave it a look. It pretends to be a bedtime story, but for appliances, not children! And the text is definitely not directed towards small children, what with the squirrels and their obsession with the male/female divide and their dubious taste in jokes. The story can be read on several levels, and interpreted as a fable denouncing today's disposible society, a parable about teamwork, or what it is--simply a bit of fun. The appliances, as well as the animals they come into contact with, are very human--perhaps too much so; how can a toaster or a lamp pick something up, unless they have prehensile flex? But suspend disbelief, place your tongue firmly in your cheek, and enjoy.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

    A wonderful story, the appliances are real and funny. They have feelings, emotions and character. I fell in love from the first page to the last. Kudos to Mr Disch.

  11. 5 out of 5

    BHodges

    A lovely little story. But surprisingly, I like the movie even better!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Tristan

    I'm surprised I haven't reviewed this before, since I have have read this before more than once and it's terribly funny. Disch's tale of a plucky set of appliances who have been left in their owner's somewhat recently abandoned mountain cabin and their quest to become useful again is a riotous read, tongue in cheek (as it addresses the readers as appliances and makes amusing comments about how, as everyone knows, flowers will say anything if it makes their poems' forms work out). It's a sweet boo I'm surprised I haven't reviewed this before, since I have have read this before more than once and it's terribly funny. Disch's tale of a plucky set of appliances who have been left in their owner's somewhat recently abandoned mountain cabin and their quest to become useful again is a riotous read, tongue in cheek (as it addresses the readers as appliances and makes amusing comments about how, as everyone knows, flowers will say anything if it makes their poems' forms work out). It's a sweet book; the appliances are lovable and just want to be appreciated as the sturdy and reliable tools they are. It's readable and fast-paced and (unsurprisingly) pretty short. I don't have a lot of detailed thoughts; it's a regular re-read for me because each new time gives me a chance to revel in some new little bit of humor--this time it was the sheer beautiful awkwardness of the summer-cottage toaster meeting the newer, shinier, apartment toaster and the scene where the apartment appliances have to tell their compatriots about the marriage and the new habit of vacationing by the sea, where his wife has no allergies, and the avoidance of it by watching television (as if the TV were less involved in the awkward feelings among the appliances than everything else). Great fun, especially for the young-at-heart.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Corinne

    I read this in Fantasy Annual 4 It's a children's story. I saw the movie many times with my children and enjoyed it so I was curious about the source material. I didn't really enjoy it and if I hadn't seen the movie or enjoyed the movie, I would of quit. I read this in Fantasy Annual 4 It's a children's story. I saw the movie many times with my children and enjoyed it so I was curious about the source material. I didn't really enjoy it and if I hadn't seen the movie or enjoyed the movie, I would of quit.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Mayo

    I saw that this was a children's book by science fiction author Disch and was intrigued, but didn't pick it up until I had kids. Five appliances go in search of the master. Pretty simple stuff, good for kids, for adults, kinda stupid, but the kids liked it so I guess it hit the intended market.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kaitlin Smith

    I feel like there's some symbolism here that I'm missing because I'm sleepy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bec

    A whimsical tale of nostalgia, memory, love, need and terror. Every character is relatable, every trial invokes sympathy. A fantastic tale of teamwork and friendship.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Johnny Clyde

    The movie is surprisingly a lot darker and deeper in its character structures. A fun little read. Especially fond of the amorous daisy.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. nice yaaaay

  19. 4 out of 5

    Hannah

    A cute little story if you enjoyed the Disney adaptation.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Marsha Valance

    An adventure in survival occurs when five appliances trek through the wilderness in an attempt to reach their owner in the city.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hawkledge

    Brilliant and wonderful fantasy, one which appeals to a wider readership than its style might at first suggest. Written in the style of a children's fable and manifestly intended as a short instructional tale for children, tipped off by the second part of its full title A Bedtime Story for Small Appliances—the incongruity of five household appliances (a tensor lamp, an electric blanket, an alarm clock radio, a Hoover vacuum cleaner, and the brave little Sunbeam toaster—leader to the others and w Brilliant and wonderful fantasy, one which appeals to a wider readership than its style might at first suggest. Written in the style of a children's fable and manifestly intended as a short instructional tale for children, tipped off by the second part of its full title A Bedtime Story for Small Appliances—the incongruity of five household appliances (a tensor lamp, an electric blanket, an alarm clock radio, a Hoover vacuum cleaner, and the brave little Sunbeam toaster—leader to the others and who never gives up hope in the face of danger) together on a quest to find their former owner, appears to resonate with the young at heart alike. Disch recounted how he was unable to get the story published as a children's book at first, because publishers thought it too “far-fetched”, even after the author had sold it to Disney as a film. The film contains many differences from the book but is essentially the same story, though the ending differs; in the novel, the appliances trade themselves away to an old ballerina who needs them, while in the movie they are reunited with their former owner. The sequel, The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars, ups the ante with the Brave Little Toaster and his companions travelling to Mars to stop an invasion from hostile appliances who have a colony there. This too was made into a film. The novella contains several memorable passages, distinguished by the presence of terrific incidental characters that popup along the way: (view spoiler)[a daisy who can only speak in verse, who mistakes his reflection in the toaster as another flower and falls in love. A similar moment occurs in the film with a Narcissus flower, except that this flower does not speak. A pair of squirrels Harold and Marjorie who the appliances meet in the forest, and who help the blanket out of a tree after being blown away in a storm. They are unable to comprehend the idea of appliances or the fact that they being merely appliances have no gender, although they are fascinated by the blanket's warmth and the toaster's ability to roast acorns. The City Dump Owner who finds the appliances, just as they are about to use his boat to cross a river, he takes them back to the city dump, throwing all the appliances except the radio into the heap. The toaster plans an escape for them all by having the four of them pretend to be a ghost and scare the man away. Included is the former owner of the five appliances, who they all revere. The appliances eventually learn that he has a mistress, and that they spend their holidays out at sea instead of the former owner’s cottage because of the woman's hay fever. They also learn that the cottage will be sold and they will each be auctioned off soon. Coming to terms with the fact of having fulfilled their duty to their owner, they look for a new home where they will be needed and can stay together. (hide spoiler)] The remarkable turn of fate in the late stages of the story is the clinching moment of this fascinating, evenly written and rewarding tale, taking the reader on a profound arc toward enlightenment, in doing so, gesturing toward allegory. In any respect though, this fantasy would certainly qualify under the definition for the term fable.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Drew Graham

    I loved the animated film adaptation of this SO much when I was young, and until recently I didn't even realize it was based on a book. I looked it up and discovered it was rather short (not entirely unexpected), and of course had to read it. A sort of delightfully odd mix between The Incredible Journey and Toy Story, this is a book about five intrepid minor appliances who, finding themselves abandoned in their beloved master's summer cottage, decide to brave the dangerous wilderness and journey I loved the animated film adaptation of this SO much when I was young, and until recently I didn't even realize it was based on a book. I looked it up and discovered it was rather short (not entirely unexpected), and of course had to read it. A sort of delightfully odd mix between The Incredible Journey and Toy Story, this is a book about five intrepid minor appliances who, finding themselves abandoned in their beloved master's summer cottage, decide to brave the dangerous wilderness and journey to the city to find him and discover why they were left behind. The Hoover vacuum, Tensor lamp, electric blanket, AM radio/clock and of course the toaster as the de facto leader are an interesting bundle of traveling companions, and the concept itself is pretty ingenious (or kind of ridiculous, depending on your point of view, I guess). The characters themselves are somewhat one-dimensional, though I guess this is to be expected, as they're appliances and live basically to perform one unique function, respectively. Still, their personalities show pretty well, even if the writing for each is pretty similar. There's a vague sense of datedness about this book, but that doesn't really detract or distract from the experience. For the first three-fourths or so, this book follows the plot presented in the film very closely, the script only deviating a little regarding some parts of the ending, and of course adding a few more steps to the journey, and a much more dramatic climax. The characters all had a little something to learn, and while they each had to discover that there's a little more to life than their simple existence in their own way, the themes are subtle and well-handled. They had to work together and each found ways to use their individual skills, and there was a nice sense of necessary and expected camaraderie among them. When something had to be done, they just worked together and did it, even though some of the party might have grumbled a little along the way. I thought it was kind of brilliant how they were bound by certain laws, requiring them to freeze when in the presence of humans (and when and why they decided they just HAD to break these laws), and how the concept of gender was totally lost on them, as they were most clearly "its" (which resulted in a very offended squirrel, unable to understand why they didn't get his gender-based joke). It was a short and amusing read, and really took me back twenty years or so to the time I would pore over the TV listings to see if the movie was coming back on anytime soon. I didn't rate it higher because I think as a story, it's a little oversimplistic for my liking, which the movie improved on a little, but in the scope of the book it works too. They're just appliances, after all. This is an optimistic little journey that I'll probably take again someday.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca McNutt

    What's odd about this child-like novel is that it was originally aimed at adults, not children (despite the multiple Disney film adaptations). And while it wasn't particularly scary, it did leave a lingering disturbing feeling after reading it. Disch, by putting human emotions and sentience into a group of outdated electrical appliances, has the ability to make readers feel sorry for these appliances as they are cast out and replaced, left to look everywhere in search of "Master", a young boy wh What's odd about this child-like novel is that it was originally aimed at adults, not children (despite the multiple Disney film adaptations). And while it wasn't particularly scary, it did leave a lingering disturbing feeling after reading it. Disch, by putting human emotions and sentience into a group of outdated electrical appliances, has the ability to make readers feel sorry for these appliances as they are cast out and replaced, left to look everywhere in search of "Master", a young boy who took care of them. It definitely makes you consider everything you've ever just tossed away, whether or not you should've kept it. Not that in reality these objects are alive, but think about it: countless people toss away the cellular devices to be replaced with the new models. Film cameras like the superior super 8 and Nikon film cameras were replaced largely by digital in the 21st century. Fridges with CFCs were sent off to dumps during the environmental movement. Record players have become replaced by inferior digital methods. It's rather shocking to consider all that we readily throw away, especially since the majority of what we replace is superior to its "next generation". :( The Brave Little Toaster is well-written, disguised with childish text but holding much deeper messages. Every character was likeable and it was very interesting to read through, accompanied by wonderful illustrations and vivid descriptions.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Josiah

    I really wanted to give this book two and a half stars, but struggled between compromising at two stars or three. I settled on the former option, as one can see. I love this story in all its forms, and give a real nod of respect to Thomas M. Disch for the unique creativity that led to the writing of this small novel. The reading level is substantially above what one who has seen the hit movie might expect, but the plot moves along very well and the tidbits of real wisdom to be found about livin I really wanted to give this book two and a half stars, but struggled between compromising at two stars or three. I settled on the former option, as one can see. I love this story in all its forms, and give a real nod of respect to Thomas M. Disch for the unique creativity that led to the writing of this small novel. The reading level is substantially above what one who has seen the hit movie might expect, but the plot moves along very well and the tidbits of real wisdom to be found about living past one's prime and being helplessly outmoded make this a story worth reading for anyone, I think, in conjunction with the movie or apart from it. The end is different from that of the film but is quiet, reasonable, and still comforting. The Brave Little Toaster is a nice read, and quite brief, and I like it. "But it is a rare human being who will be swayed by considerations of the heart in his dealings with appliances..." —The Brave Little Toaster, P. 44

  25. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    I didn't know that The Brave Little Toaster was a book before being adapted into the movie I remember from my childhood. And I have to say, the book is kind of awesome. It's written with a formalized elegance that you might expect from older stories, but the tone is absolutely perfect. It's a quiet story and it's easy to love these intrepid little appliances. Sadly I had to weed this book from the library's collection due to its age (and the book does show its age in terms of the technology used) I didn't know that The Brave Little Toaster was a book before being adapted into the movie I remember from my childhood. And I have to say, the book is kind of awesome. It's written with a formalized elegance that you might expect from older stories, but the tone is absolutely perfect. It's a quiet story and it's easy to love these intrepid little appliances. Sadly I had to weed this book from the library's collection due to its age (and the book does show its age in terms of the technology used) and low circulation, but it has since found a cozy little place on my bookshelf at home.

  26. 5 out of 5

    R.

    Cute 78-page novella...originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in August 1980 (and nominated for a Hugo and a Nebula). Apparently, the movie "stars" Jon Lovitz and Phil Hartman. Check out the quotes at IMDB.com: http://amazon.imdb.com/title/tt009269... (the book is sehr melancholy; not madcap as the quotes would suggest) Cute 78-page novella...originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in August 1980 (and nominated for a Hugo and a Nebula). Apparently, the movie "stars" Jon Lovitz and Phil Hartman. Check out the quotes at IMDB.com: http://amazon.imdb.com/title/tt009269... (the book is sehr melancholy; not madcap as the quotes would suggest)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    I remember enjoying this movie as a kid but never knew it was a book first. It's really a beautiful little story. So simple but very well crafted. There are puns but they are subtle and thoughtful, not groan-inducing at all. I can't possibly imagine what might happen in the sequel based on the title but this was so well written I will gladly take a look.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    A charming odd-ball of a book. Science fiction? Children's story? You decide, but this is a total pleasure to read. The movie, although good, diverged significantly from the book, and was not, I think, as much fun.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Chambers

    if you hrelp said tasteer! if toaster if help store and helping lampy! and you want to drie wagon the roller drive The Brave Little Toaster if you hrelp said tasteer! if toaster if help store and helping lampy! and you want to drie wagon the roller drive The Brave Little Toaster

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jaksen

    Just read it, loved it. Yet another book designed for adults but taken over, somewhat, by children. It's a quick, but elegant read. Perfect for any 'grown-up' who made the salt and pepper shakers talk at the supper table while Mom looked on with exasperation and Dad smiled his approval. :D

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