Friday, April 22, 2011

Toby and the Secrets of the Tree by Timothee de Frombelle –NOT RECOMMENDED

De Frombelle, Timothee & Illustrated by Place, Francois Toby and the Secrets of the Tree, 432 pgs. Candlewick, 2010. $13.06.
The long lost hero Toby is traveling back from the land of the Grass people to his homeland, the land of the Tree people. The going is really tough considering his size, which is extremely tiny, even smaller than an ant, just like all the people that populate this story. Back at home evil has run taken over in a number of ways. A former friend Leo Blue has captured a dear friend Elisha, and is trying to force her into marriage. An evil taskmaster, Joe Mitch has enslaved grass people and with their labor is trying to kill the tree itself. He also has captured Toby’s parents. Worst of all, the Tree itself, nearly an entire world for the Tree People, might not survive. Toby must hurry if he is to save all that loves.
A second book to a series, this story cannot act as a stand alone, as no effort was made to ingratiate new readers. It took me quite a few tries to get started with this story, since the plot didn’t entice me in and I had to get to know the huge host of characters rather quickly. A student would find this a huge chore, without having read and enjoyed the first book. The plotline was complicated, taking in the intricacies of the first book as well, and I didn’t find it appealing. With character names like Pussykinska and lines mentioning Haute Couture fashion, the overall theming fell flat. Also most of the ‘bad guy’ characters were buffoon style, and I found their antics to be annoying and hard to read. This book is too complicated for older elementary students but too boring and childish for junior high. Not recommended.
EL –No. Reviewer: Stephanie MLIS graduate.

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