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Toby Alone


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About the Author

Timothee de Fombelle is a much-admired French playwright. TOBY ALONE, highly acclaimed in France, is the first of a two-part series and has won numerous awards.
Francois Place has illustrated many books and is also a renowned author in his own right. With TOBY ALONE, he has once again allowed his art true expression."


Gr 4-8-Toby Lolness, 13, is a mere 1.5 millimeters tall but he has a big heart, big dreams, and is in really big trouble. After his scientist father discovers that the oak tree on which their people live is actually alive and in danger because of the destructive digging and building Joe Mitch and the Neighborhood Committee have been engaged in, Toby and his family escape to the Lower Branches. When they are followed and captured by Mitch's minions, Toby is the only member of his family who manages to escape and, alone, must endure extreme hardship, betrayal, and loss. Fantastical situations, appealing characters, and whimsical illustrations help carry the book, but the overriding themes of disregard for the environment and the denunciation of the "grass people" as the enemy are written with such a heavy hand that readers will quickly tire of the propaganda. Toby Alone is the first volume in a two-part novel that received much acclaim when originally published in France in 2006.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information

The impressive debut novel from French playwright de Fombelle deftly weaves mature political commentary, broad humor and some subtle satire into a thoroughly enjoyable adventure. The people of the Tree are two millimeters tall or less, but their society mimics ours. Industrialists keep digging holes, politicians play dirty games and scientists conduct research to discover the nature of the world in which they live. Toby Lolness, the son of a renowned scientist, is forced to become a fugitive when his father's discoveries reveal the dangers presented by the continued development of the Tree. Toby's story is revealed in flashbacks as he runs from the cronies of Joe Mitch, a builder who has rapidly become a political powerhouse. Mitch's machinations have turned the Tree into a totalitarian society in which reading and writing are banned, and only Toby remains free to try to rescue his parents and bring down Mitch and his crew. It's hard not to see some of the book's antecedents-the Borrowers, the Littles, etc.-but de Fombelle has built a unique world with a fully developed social and political structure. Ages 9-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

"An adventurous fable stars a minuscule hero facing massive ordeals. . . .
Witty, original, and devastatingly entertaining." Kirkus Reviews - Starred review"

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