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Toby and the Secrets of the Tree
     

Toby and the Secrets of the Tree

by Timothée De Fombelle
 

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

Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 4–8—Toby Lolness, 1.5 millimeters in height and 13 years old, is on the run in these two volumes (2009, 2010, Candlewick) of an eco-fantasy filled with political commentary and satire by Timothee de Fombelle. Toby lives in a world miniscule in scale, an entire civilization making its home on a single oak tree—and everyone is out to get Toby. The details of why Toby is running are parsed out in looping narrative, with scenes from his memory nested within expository dialogue that is itself a memory. We learn of the high society in the upper branches and the environmental research of Toby's scientist father. We are there when his parents fall in love. We meet farmers, thugs, city dwellers, and a grotesque real estate developer, while Toby runs, hides, faces betrayal, and finds love. This fractal storytelling style, abetted by very descriptive, filigreed writing, makes the action sometimes difficult to follow in the audio version. And while Peter Berkrot does a fine job of conveying Toby's emotions without going overboard, many members of the extremely large cast of characters are written with an abundance of over-the-top physical features and verbal mannerisms, and come off as caricatures. The good guys are determined to defend the environment and the bad guys are intent on destroying it, as these novels are relentless in reminding us.—Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, MD
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
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)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781441888778
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
09/30/2010
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
10 - 13 Years

Meet the Author

Timothée de Fombelle is a much-admired French playwright. Toby Alone and its sequel Toby and the Secrets of the Tree are highly acclaimed in France, and have won numerous awards. The translator of both books, Sarah Ardizzone (nee Adams), has won the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation, and is the director of literary events for International PEN.

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