Review: ‘Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story’ by Robert Bryndza (@RobertBryndza)

26053156It’s December 1992, and children are going crazy for the Tracy Island toy – almost as crazy as the parents! Christmas day is fast approaching and Coco is desperately trying to track one down for her four-year-old son Rosencrantz.

Throw into the mix a horrible boss, a lazy husband, and the prospect of her in-laws arriving for the festivities, and Coco wishes she could cancel Christmas and sail off to a desert island somewhere – preferably with the gorgeous-yet-unattainable Tom from work.

But retail therapy is at hand! Coco’s faithful friends Chris and Marika rally round, and even her mother-in-law Ethel tries to help in her own eccentric way.

From dodgy dealings in a motorway lay-by, to extreme shopping in Hamley’s with a Sylvanian Families fanatic, to having a go at the Blue Peter make-your-own Tracy Island, Coco tries everything in the hope that Rosencrantz will open his must-have toy on Christmas morning.

Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story is a hilarious feel-good comedy, which asks the question – how far would you go to get your child this year’s must-have Christmas toy?

Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story’ is a quick and completely fun read from the man behind the absolutely brilliant Erika Foster series, Robert Bryndza. Meeting Coco and her family and friends for the first time, I was at no disadvantage as this is an absolutely fab little book which works well as a standalone.

The blurb pretty well says it all: Coco is in a bind. Her son Rosencrantz is desperate to have the must-have toy of the year, Tracy Island. Between work and family, Coco has left it really late to go shopping and the toy-du-jour is almost impossible to get a hold of. Chasing down every possible source, Coco and her husband Daniel are hit by a series of disasters and seem doomed to disappoint their son and have a miserable family Christmas to boot. Blackmail, back of a lorry dodgy dealings, toy store scrums and family fall outs are all on the menu and are harder for Coco to swallow than an over cooked roast potato.

The book is full of completely chucklesome and total laugh out loud moments as Mr Bryndza proves that he is a king of comedy as well as crime. Now, I’m definitely old enough for the whole Blue Peter Tracy Island story to make sense but any which way you look at it, I don’t think there is a single parent who won’t understand the panic and paranoia that Coco suffers when she realises the one thing her son wants more than anything is the only thing she can’t give him. For some it will have been the (original) Furby, for modern generations the PS4 when that was first released. There is always some must have toy and who doesn’t remember Arnie’s big Christmas hit, Jingle All The Way and feel that pang of guilt because you know you’ve been there too?

I love the characters in this book. Coco is briliant and her relationship with her mother-in-law Ethel provides a wealth of comic and probably easy to recognise moments. As for the song Ethel teaches Rosencrantz, most unfortunately sung by the unsuspecting child during his nativity… Well it certainly makes for an interesting school play. ‘Toilet language’ indeed.

A brilliant and funny little festive interlude that has made em want to go back and see just what else Mrs Pinchard has gotten up to. Seems like it’s going to be a real hoot. A wonderfully festive 5 stars.


Coco Pinchard’s Must-Have Toy Story‘ is available from the following links:

Amazon UK