Books by Toby Speed

Released: Sept. 18, 2013

"Though wholly admirable in its attempt to blend humor and mystery, Speed's debut falls short of its mark due to a failure to craft a sufficiently solid protagonist, and there are too many bells and whistles along the way."
A woman who's avoided danger all her life becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation. Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 2000

Speed and Root (Two Cool Cows, 1995) pit a platoon of feisty prize spuds against grimacing chef Hackemup in this gleeful culinary contretemps. Once the sun sets over the county fair's Bud and Bean Arena, the potatoes open their eyes and rumble out to sample the wild carnival ride called "The Zip"—until Hackemup, chef at the Chowder Lounge, snatches them up, singing delightedly of "Idaho and Juliet . . . Romeo and Julienne." Speed breaks in and out of rhyme unpredictably; Root portrays the Lounge's kitchen as a steamy vegetable hell, all huge boiling cauldrons and crisscrossed conveyor belts carrying passive, anxious-looking peppers, cabbages, eggplants, and onions to their soupy doom. Potatoes are made of sterner stuff, though, and, ganging up to push Hackemup into one of his own pots, they lead a vegetable charge out the door and down the street, carnival-ward. Any way you slice it, this tuberous triumph will have readers rolling in the aisles. (Picture book. 7-9)Read full book review >
WATER VOICES by Toby Speed
Released: March 23, 1998

Riddle fanciers will enjoy this book, in which Speed (Whoosh! Went the Wish, p. 727, etc.) tests their familiarity with various watery forms: mist, ocean waves, the morning dew. Every riddle is a satisfying mix of brainteaser and giveaway, abetted by Downing's guileless watercolors; the time of day and the setting are used to lyrical effect. The book follows a young girl as she experiences each type of water—wakes to Morningmist throwing a ``white net over the lake,'' dances in Sprinklerspray, pounds through Mudpuddle, lounges in Bedtime Bath, hears the ``trees groan and leaves bristle and snap'' when Thunderstorm blows in, watches helplessly as Oceanwave makes good on his promise: ``I eat your sand castle for lunch.'' Though some of the descriptions strain—``the banjo strumming of frogs''—the lines have the energy, cadence, and imagery of accessible, enticing poetry. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: May 19, 1997

From the team behind Two Cool Cows (1995) comes the sweet story of Henry, who wants nothing more than a cat for company. A disgruntled city fairy is struck by country dweller Henry's sincerity and is happy to help out. Kids will enjoy the fairy's humorous bumbles, as the wishes zoom through the air and words are caught in trees and bushes along the way. After several tries, the fairy comes up with a perfect—and unexpected—solution. Speed spins a comforting, old- fashioned tale, and Root's soft palette adds to the antiquated quality with amiable, expressive characters. A small book with a generous heart. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
TWO COOL COWS by Toby Speed
Released: May 11, 1995

Two hip, sunglass-wearing Holsteins borrow some ``new black button-back boots'' and head for a party on the moon. The four Huckabuck children who own the boots are in hot pursuit. Soft stylized landscapes are energized by the fiercely jaunty twosome who thunder unstoppably toward a bunny-hopping rendezvous—a moon meadow filled with cow cousins. The rhymed romp through the nighttime countryside ends when the ``two cool, too cool'' cows eventually return home, and the Huckabucks get their boots back. Accompanied by Root's lissome paintings, Speed reinvents words and manufactures frenzied couplets to introduce readers to a place where a predictably good time will be had by all. (Picture book. 4- 8) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 19, 1994

Speed's (One Leaf Fell, not reviewed) story centers on an unusual wedding cake. Not just a cake that is eaten at a wedding, Hattie's well-beaten confection contains a wedding. As she was diligently mixing, various articles were beaten into the cake by accident. A pair of specs, wind from the wind chimes, sunshine, a kiss. When she's finished mixing, Hattie puts the unwieldy batter into a tuba—it doesn't fit into any pan—and bakes it. When she arrives at the wedding, however, everyone is in an uproar. The judge is squinting; the sky is gray; there isn't even a kiss for the bride. Someone sees the kiss in the cake, so Hattie gives the tuba a blow and out comes the wedding. The day is saved. Clever and sweet. Hepworth's illustrations are delicious confections in themselves. (Fiction/Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >