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Toby and the Secrets of the Tree

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A breathless, high-stakes quest to save the miniature world of the Tree — and reunite loved ones lost — unfolds with wit, suspense, and startling revelations.

Toby’s world is under greater threat than ever before. A giant crater has been dug right into the center of the Tree, moss and lichen have invaded the branches, and one tyrant controls it all. Leo Blue, once Toby’s best friend, is holding Toby’s beloved Elisha prisoner, hunting the Grass People with merciless force, and ...

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Toby and the Secrets of the Tree

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A breathless, high-stakes quest to save the miniature world of the Tree — and reunite loved ones lost — unfolds with wit, suspense, and startling revelations.

Toby’s world is under greater threat than ever before. A giant crater has been dug right into the center of the Tree, moss and lichen have invaded the branches, and one tyrant controls it all. Leo Blue, once Toby’s best friend, is holding Toby’s beloved Elisha prisoner, hunting the Grass People with merciless force, and inflicting a life of poverty and fear on the Tree People. But after several years among the Grass People, Toby has returned to fight back. And this time he’s not alone: a resistance is forming. In the much-anticipated sequel to the award-winning Toby Alone, the compelling eco-adventure reaches its gripping conclusion.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Jeanna Sciarrotta
Left with many questions upon completion of the first book, Toby Alone, readers can rest assured that this book does not disappoint in that category. Toby sets out in his new adventure, after years of living with the Grass people, to find some answers. In this tiny ecosystem of miniature humans all residing in and around one tree, chaos is taking place. The Tree people are fighting with, and dominating, the Grass People. Joe Mitch cannot stop digging craters and Toby's former best friend, Leo Blue has gone crazy with his quest for absolute domination of the tree and everyone in it, including Elisha Lee, whom he has kidnapped and trapped in an eggshell. As Toby struggles to save not only the people he loves, but the tree as well, he must face many former friends and new enemies that would have him fail in his journey to discover secrets about his past that might very well save everything. In this intricate and character-driven sequel, strong readers will delight in this well written allegory for humanity and our codependency with Earth, just as the Tree People and Grass People discover that they are interconnected and unless they work together they will kill off the tree. Most readers, however, will struggle with the slow pace of the beginning and the introduction to a confusing array of characters in the first few chapters. Those who can manage to stick with the story will find it rewarding in the end as all loose ends are tied up in a nicely satisfying and somewhat emotional conclusion. All readers should be cautioned that this is not a standalone novel. There are way too many characters and events, even with the flashback style of both books, to jump into the action in media res! Reviewer: Jeanna Sciarrotta
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—After the cliff-hanger ending of Toby Alone (Candlewick, 2009), the miniature protagonist returns to try to locate his kidnapped parents and prevent the destruction of the Tree that houses settlements of tiny humans. His childhood friend Leo Blue has become a power broker and rules from the Nest on high, while Joe Mitch maintains control of the Low Branches, capturing and enslaving Grass people to dig out the Crater and increase his fortune. Between Leo's blind quest for supremacy and Joe Mitch's exploitation of its resources, the Tree is rapidly declining. Toby must navigate carefully to avoid the dangers they present. Moreover, Leo is determined to win Elisha Lee, and, when he realizes that Toby holds her heart, his intent to destroy his former friend becomes murderous. De Fombelle sprinkles social commentary liberally throughout the plot's twists and turns, and, while it will go over the heads of some readers, others will appreciate the pulls between big business and the environment and the distrust between the Grass and Tree people. Place's pen-and-ink illustrations are scattered generously throughout and enhance the overall quirkiness. Though the forvolume can stand alone, youngsters unfamiliar with the first installment may find it difficult to keep track of the large cast of characters and where their loyalties lie. This interesting piece of eco-fantasy provides a satisfying conclusion for those who enjoyed the first book.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Kirkus Reviews
A Lilliputian world yields sharp political satire in this adventure fable, sequel to Toby Alone(2009). Three years after Toby's daring escape, life has grown even harder for those left on the Tree. "Friendly Neighbor" Joe Mitch has tightened his tyrannical grip while furthering his ecological devastation. Meanwhile, Leo Blue's merciless campaign against the Grass People is only tempered by his obsession with Toby's beloved Elisha. The Tree is withering, discontent is everywhere and the slightest catalyst could spark an uprising; then a rumor crops up that Toby Lolness is back. While retaining all the cleverness, wit and suspense, this follow-up suffers from an excess of character and plot. A multitude of unique viewpoints, each with a separate narrative arc, shift from comedy to drama to intrigue to adventure at the expense of a unified story line or theme. Once all these people and threads intersect, the sheer quantity of coincidence and contrivance to tie them off neatly strains credulity to the breaking point. Nonetheless, the knit never quite ravels, displaying a brilliance and depth nothing short of dazzling. A mess, but a spectacular one. (Fantasy. 10 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763646554
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 8/10/2010
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 421,463
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Timothée de Fombelle is a much-admired French playwright. His first novel, Toby Alone, has been translated in twenty-two languages and has won numerous prizes.

François Place has illustrated many books and is also a renowned author in his native France.

Sarah Ardizzone won the Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation for Toby Alone. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

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