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Toby, What Are You?

Toby, What Are You?

by William Steig, Teryl Euvremer (Illustrator), Teryl Euvremer

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Can you guess what Toby is,

In Toby, Where Are You? Toby led his parents in a merry game of hide-and-seek. Now he's making mischief again as a boy of many disguises. For starters, he can turn himself into a doormat or a flyswatter or a plate of spaghetti....Here's more fun and games from William Steig and Teryl Euvremer.


Can you guess what Toby is,

In Toby, Where Are You? Toby led his parents in a merry game of hide-and-seek. Now he's making mischief again as a boy of many disguises. For starters, he can turn himself into a doormat or a flyswatter or a plate of spaghetti....Here's more fun and games from William Steig and Teryl Euvremer.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Toby, the anthropomorphic hero of Toby, Where Are You, enjoys imagining that he is all kinds of things, from doormat and clothes tree to flyswatter, mountain topped with snow, and wild animal. His patient parents guess what he is, sometimes correctly and sometimes not. When they finally get him to bed, he is ready to let his imagination loose in his dreams. In single and frequent double- page, detailed scenes with textured color, youngsters can follow his fun and games and perhaps expand their own imaginations. It is refreshing to see his father cooking dinner. 2001, Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins, $14.95. Ages 3 to 6. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
A new book by the ninety-something-year-old, effervescent, ever-young William Steig can't help but be a pleasure�although I must admit that at first glance I missed seeing Steig's own inimitable and witty illustrations. But I soon made my peace with those by Teryl Euvremer. Softly luminous and glowing, they help bring out the subtle feelings and the many meanings implicit in the simple-seeming text. Looking at Toby, What Are You? again today, I'm glad I have the good excuse of needing to review it. I only wish there were a couple of young children (my own grandkids are too big, too far away) sitting on my lap right now, sharing in the fun and the very real comfort this book provides. Echoing the title question and looking at the illustrations, a young child might well ask whoever reads the book aloud, "What is Toby, anyway?" The reader-aloud might wonder, too: What kind of animal has such expressive eyes; such soft-looking, touch-me fur; a nose so doglike; and such dainty whiskers, such a sinuous tail? Is he perhaps a dachshund-monkey combination, crossed with an as-yet undiscovered, gentle rodent breed? Never mind. It couldn't matter less. Toby, of course, is a wonderfully human kid, enterprising, with a limitless imagination. He loves to fool his parents, as what kid doesn't? Using a variety of props, he reinvents himself in no fewer than fifteen astonishing ways. Here are three examples: Hiding behind the red, white-dotted umbrella pictured on the cover, he's a toadstool. Standing tall, leafy twigs in his hands and mouth, he's a tree. When he lies across two chairs, with his behind up in the air, and his mother mistakenly thinks he's a camel, he's really a bridge across an invisibleriver�how not? "Guess what I am," he challenges his parents every time. They gaze and ponder, they give it careful thought. Then they venture a guess. He holds his breath, hoping they'll guess wrong. And most of the time, to his delight, they do. Good thing these parents don't mind being flummoxed. You can see the pleasure in their faces when, to their surprise, they learn that, no, their Toby isn't suddenly a turnip but, rather, has become a bag of laundry. Then again, they're relieved that he isn't a poor fish struggling in a net, but a plate of spaghetti�yum. Fun though fooling his parents is, it's also very satisfying when, sitting cozily beside a warming fire, they see him standing on all fours, balancing a plate of cupcakes on his back, and recognize him for precisely what he means to be: a useful, steady coffee table. This unsentimental clich�-free book pays effective tribute to the riches of imagination and stirringly evokes that longed-for, dreamed-of thing: a happy family. 2001, Joanna Cotler Books, 32 pages,
— Doris Orgel
School Library Journal
PreSHere's a surprise from Steiga book illustrated by someone else and directed to readers younger than his usual audience. Toby, a very appealing young weasel-like creature, loves to play hide-and-seek, and in this story young readers can join his parents in trying to find him. Steig's brief text, limited to short dramatic one and two liners, has just the right amount of tension to draw young children into the game; and Euvremer's warm, cozy illustrations encourage them to follow Toby from one hiding place to anotherbehind the curtain, among the leaves of a plant, and under the rug. When his parents give up trying to find him, Toby joyously shouts "Here I am!" The game is over, and he is rewarded with "quite a few kisses." The detailed illustrations extend the spare text, encouraging conversation about actions that are illustrated but not described. The textured look of the pictures invites touching to feel whether the animal fur and fabrics are as soft as they look. The small size of the book is just right for little hands to hold. It is a welcome addition to other popular hide-and-seek titles for this age group, such as Eric Hill's Where's Spot (Putnam, 1980) and the Ahlbergs' Each Peach Pear Plum (Viking, 1979). A note of caution: be prepared to play real hide-and-seek whenever you read this story.Virginia Golodetz, St. Michael's College, Winooski, VT
Kirkus Reviews
From early sunlit morning to candlelit evening, Toby's parents search for him throughout the house. It's all very cozy: They know he's hiding, and they're playing the game with him. Toby is in every picture—behind the fish tank, in the pantry, under the rug. When his parents finally give up, Toby leaps out from under the table, and gets "quite a few kisses." Shown in a fuzzy kind of stippled color, this home is one any child might envy: dragons on the toy chest; sunflowers on the headboard; lively patterns on the rugs; and a profusion of plants, books, and playthings. The house and accoutrements have a vaguely Victorian feel, reflected in the mother's floor-length floral dress—although the father might be wearing Hush Puppies. The family, marmoset- or meerkat-like mammals, have furry features and long tails, which seem right for this soft-focus read-aloud. It's a charmer, for a younger audience than Steig's usual.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Michael Di Capua Books Series
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.25(d)
AD230L (what's this?)
Age Range:
2 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

William Steig's drawings appeared regularly in The New Yorker since 1930. He also wrote and illustrated books for children, most recently his memoir, When Everybody Wore a Hat. His other books include Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, winner of the Caldecott Medal; The Amazing Bone, a Caldecott Honor Book; and Abel's Island and Doctor De Soto, both Newbery Honor Books; Doctor De Soto Goes to Africa; Pete's A Pizza; and Zeke Pippin.

Teryl Euvremer has written and illustrated several picture books. In addition to Toby, What Are You?, she is also the illustrator of Toby, Where Are You?, both by William Steig. She lives in Paris.

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