Meredith's Reviews > Toby Alone

Toby Alone by Timothée de Fombelle
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's review
May 11, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: male-protagonist, adventure, j-fic
Read in May, 2009

I liked this book much better than I thought I would. Toby is a 13 year-old boy who is only 1.5 millimeters tall, and lives in a tree. When his father reveals a scientific discovery proving that the tree is alive and being destroyed by corporate housing projects, an influential business man initiates a tree-wide manhunt for Toby and a reward for his capture.

Amazon and Publishers Weekly have reviewed this book for ages 9 and up, but I'm not sure I would feel comfortable giving the book to someone that young. I would maybe go with ages 11 and up. The book is an allegory meant to reflect the real-world conflicts between industrial interests and the well-being of the planet, and references modern racial tensions and bigotry. The subtle and reflective manner in which they are presented might be confusing for a younger child. The main reason I would be more comfortable giving this book to tweens than kids is that the author touches on certain subjects that could be considered inappropriate, and might anger parents. These issues are as follows:

*Young boy dragged almost to death
*Abuse and mutliation
*Full nudity between two 11 year-olds of the opposite sex. (They go skinny-dipping together multiple times. It just seemed kind of weird to me, and there was no description of anything wildly inappropriate, but I can see parents getting upset about it.)
*Author alludes to the rape of Toby's mother.

This is the first book in a series, and the sequel is slated to be released in June 2009. I liked this one enough that I will probably read the next! It was certainly a page-turner.

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