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TOBY AND THE SECRETS OF THE TREE by Timothée de Fombelle


by Timothée de Fombelle & illustrated by François Place & translated by Sarah Ardizzone

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4655-4
Publisher: Candlewick

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)