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Toby Alone

(Tobie Lolness #1)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  3,056 ratings  ·  288 reviews
This is a story of adventure, heroism, friendship and survival, with a powerful ecological message, set in a miniature world. Toby is just one and a half millimetres tall and is the most wanted person in the great oak tree.
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by Walker Books (first published 2006)
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Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,056 ratings  ·  288 reviews


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Muhammad Ozair
May 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I consider this a literary masterpiece.De Fombelle not only creates a new world,he creates a while we category.Imagine the world as the 'Tree' and the 'Grass'.The possibilities are endless;lichen forests,tamed insects,bark caves e.t.c.This is the dystopian story of Toby Lolness,where his life is turned upside down,with the whole tree against him and his family for crimes they did not commit and a secret that could change the very tree forever.One by one his links to life snap,Leo blue his best f ...more
Erin Sterling
A fascinating fantasy world about tree people with nice allegories to earth. When you first meet Toby, he is on the run--from his former friends, life, everything. He doesn't even know where his parents are. As the story unravels, you learn that Toby lives in the Tree but his family was forced out of the Upper Branches to the bleak Lower Branches because his dad was a scientist who refused to reveal a secret that could destroy the lives of them all. An evil and greedy man has become dictator and ...more
Russell
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was told of this book by a friend maybe five years ago. I read the book then, and I remember enjoying it. Recently, I found the book around my house and decided to reread the book because it's just such a cool concept. As you might know by now, I really exclusively read fantasy. This book's "net" to catch you in is that one meter in our world is about one millimeter in their world, and they live on a tree. This concept is just very original and is so intriguing. And boy, I'm glad that I read i ...more
Amalia
Jan 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2011-challenge
This is one of my favourite reads so far this year. I must have borrowed this book about 4 times before I actually read it. When I finally did open it, I could hardly put it down. I am planning on making my kids read it, through gentle suggestion and subliminal messages, of course :) Toby Alone also fits beautifully into my environmental awareness program - the one I now plan to start!

Essentially the story of a boy abandonded by his people, Toby Alone touches on several universal themes includin
...more
Tom Atkinson
Jul 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read this at the recommendation of a, then fellow trainee now qualified, teacher and could not get enough. It's a beautiful story which really touched me, more so than I expected. It was a delight to be exposed to a story I may not have been drawn to otherwise. The dystopian tree society is a lovely backdrop to an enticing story of friendship and heroism. Thank you Lucy.
Ghostcat
This one was recommended to me by one of my best friends, and I really enjoyed it a lot!
At first I was a little disturbed by the fact that we start the story in a tragic violent moment, but just one chapter further I became completely hooked by the adventures of Tobie.
The ideals and reflexions behind the story suit me perfectly and I found a lot of poetic and quite smart quotes in this book. I even shared some tears, it was beautifully written.
I'm impatient to read the second book!
Stephen Connor
Toby is just 1 and 1/2 millimetres tall - the world in which he lives is simply a tree, brought to life in intricate detail by de Fombelle - every detail of the Tree has a part to play as Toby journeys through, trying to find himself while escaping the clutches of Joe Mitch. Mitch, for me, is a Donald Trump kind of character, obsessed as he is with power and also turning a blind eye to to the ecological impact of his actions.

I have to admit I’ve struggled through this a bit. Toby’s journey is a
...more
Rebecca Tracz
Sep 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels
While I did not read the book from cover to cover I can appreciate how the author has used the tree so create a whole world which is inhabited by little people. In a broad sense the book introduces scientific discovery and speaking up for what you believe in, and also Tobys journey as he lost lost his family status and became persecuted for fathers actions.
Sara
Apr 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great upper elementary level or lower middle school level book. The characters are well fleshed out and the story-line is engaging. I found it hard to put this book down. Be warned that it is the first book in a series and it ends on a cliffhanger. I only wish I had the second book ready to read as soon as I finished this one!
Hannah K
Jun 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Good story! Very intriguing premise--a boy a millimeter and a half tall being hunted by the entire populace of the 'Tree', in which almost the whole story takes place. Good writing, plot, and characters: a story with a heart of its own. The only letdown for me was the lack of closure at the end (of course prompting me to read the sequel). But it wasn't a sad ending. Just open for more adventure!
Stargazer
Dec 01, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I love this type of story but found this flat, dull and disappointing and a slog to read.
Dexter Lok
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
OMG this is a CHILD'S BOOK yet it deals with issues of poverty, political power struggle, love and the harsh reality of living on the run. If you can, READ IT
Nurgül
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best
Elimden bırakamadım.
I could hardly put it down.
Andrea
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
oh what a world!!
a person very dear to me gave me this book and even though i didnt know what to expect and at the beginning didnt know what was going on, I really like this fantasy world full of adventures... I admire such imagination and who knows, maybe there are many many worlds we havent discovered yet... the world of Tree might be such a world, I am going to have a proper look later :-)
plus I really like the ecological aspect of the story - how we should behave well to our world and care f
...more
Jasmine Longworth
Aug 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
I throughly enjoyed reading Toby Alone. I found the concept of the story and the fact that they were all little people living in trees a bit silly at first and I did have to keep telling myself that it was a children’s book! However, once I had got into it and the story started to get a little more serious I really enjoyed it. I think for a children’s book it has so many life lessons in, from friendship to love to survival and trust. I thought the way Toby was able to run and fight back after ha ...more
Scope
Mar 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Tiny characters have a rich history in children’s lit. Stuart Little, The Borrowers, Despereaux, and The Littles have all been keeping it real for the diminutive for quite some time. Hey, even Alice got shrunk down for a bit. It makes sense that kids are drawn to tiny - it brings the world down to a size they can manage. The entire universe? Hard to grasp. A single oak tree? Now you're talkin'. Toby Alone, originally published in France and translated into 22 languages, is a great example of thi ...more
Raisu
French YA fantasy about a community of microscopic people who live in an oak. The titular character's father the brilliant scientist makes a discovery that could give the oak people free energy, but also destroy their ecosystem. That throws the family into exile and danger.

It's not a bad book. In some ways it's even a pretty good one. De Fombelle can move the plot forward in brisk, riveting manner. He has a knack for withholding information and then revealing it at just the right moment. His cha
...more
Matthew Winner
Jun 24, 2009 rated it it was ok
NO for our library.

Let's be upfront. I read to page 77 of 384 of Toby Alone. And I only made it that far because I thought it best to give it the benefit of the doubt. I have a very hard time believing the kids will believe this story. Fantasy is a well-loved genre, but only when readers can believe in the world they're reading. Our story characters are only over a millimeter tall, living in the bark of a tree but blissfully unaware that they live on a living organism. They speak of rumored "Gra
...more
Juu
Jul 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up
On page 112 and can't go any further, especially knowing there's a cliff hanger and two more books to go. Like others who commented, I can't get into a story that arbitrarily chooses what technology these tiny people have. How can they claim not to know about how the tree lives but know about neurons?
And how can people 1.5 mm tall (2 mm max, this is highly emphasized) domesticate beetles that are at least an inch taller? Every time he mentions their height I get distracted. Reminds me of the vi
...more
Kluxorious Kluxces
This whole book is a metaphor of our world with Toby as the epitome of hope and goodness but even he cannot escaped the seed of doubt, which have been the cause of many downfalls of us human. It almost caused his downfall too but fortunately he snapped out of it.

Toby is miniscule. Not even over 2 milliliters. He lives in a tree that is full of other miniscule beings such as he. His adventures started off the day his father created Ballina. Things went awfully downhill after that. I wish he has a
...more
Karla
Jan 18, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
Lots of "messages" - about the environment, racism, pack mentality...It's a little heavy at times, but I did like the idea of tiny people living on a tree but unaware their world is alive. Ends on a cliffhanger so there is definitely a sequel. I liked the character of Toby who is spunky and brave, his scientist father, and independent mother. The bad guys in the story seem to be unredeemably bad, however, and somewhat caricature-ish... is that a word?
OttersRead
I have a wonderful memory of this book, which was one of the first books I ever loved when I was a kid. I met the author once, he was super kind and told me he thought it was nice that my copy looked worn out because it showed that I re-read the book many times, lent it to friends, carried it around with me... It made me really happy when he told me that because my books are always this way and my family and friends didn't get why I didn't take better care of my books.
Karin
Nov 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middlegrade
Really great adventure story with ecological message and lots of layers. Toby is part of a society of 2mm-tall people that live on a tree. He's on the run after trying to rescue his parents from execution (for 'crimes against the tree'). Narrative goes back and forth between present day and events leading up to it. Translated from the French. Awesome.
Ishani Parekh
Mar 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYBODY
Recommended to Ishani by: my bff
This was a AMAZING book (except the ending was a little annoying)but anyways, verall:
THIS IS ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE READ!
When most of us think of fantasy we think of
dragons
witches
weird creatures
harry potter
vampires
and other things
we NEVER think of little people living in a tree. Like he did and that is why this is a 5/5 book! :)
Myrah
When I read it, I found it amazing! Couldn't wait to read the second book! So if you're not older then twelve, I'd go for it :) Even if you're older then twelve and don't mind reading something 'under your level', you should read it, because it really is a great story.
Diana
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Such an awesome book!!!It was one of the best books i have ever read!!!
Isabella
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I first read this book when it had just come out, as a child, and utterly loved it. I've thought about it often in the years since, and listed it regularly as one of my all-time favourites. I cannot tell you how frustrating it is that seemingly no one else has read it! The world-building is incredibly detailed and wonderful: just the idea of tiny people inhabiting an oak tree, wandering through forests of lichen and fearing the giant shadows of dragonflies! It's the sort of idea you wish you'd h ...more
Jelena Gley
I quite enjoyed reading this book, but I'm not sure what I think of it.
I like the style and the idea of tiny people living on a tree, not knowing whether it lives or not, but the allegory of the tree being like our planet earth, being destroyed by profit-hungry people, was transported very clear and obvious. I liked de Fombelle's writing, but I wasn't drawn into the book as much as I've experienced with other books I've read this year. So it was an interesting read, and it made me think about m
...more
Olivia
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
I think this book was very intense and had so much going on in it that, I think it would only be suitable for a mature year 5 pupil or for a year 6 pupil because there are many different puzzles through-out the book that the children will need to infer. The children who read this book may find it quite thrilling because there is a lot of action, however it may be found confusing because of the flashing forwards and backwards in time. On the other hand this book could be really good to demonstrat ...more
Alessia
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book for school when I was 9. i don't know why but I didn't do it at that time even though I bought it. I've read this now, at 21 years old and I fell in love with it. it is one of those books which makes you feel better. it's so simple and at the same time so full of plot twists, characters and important themes. I just love it and I recommend it to everyone. no matter how old you are.
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As a child...
Timothee de Fombelle was born in the heart of Paris in 1973, but often accompanied his architect father on his travels to Africa. Each summer his family left for the countryside (the west of France), where the five brothers and sisters lived like wild horses, making huts in the trees, playing in the river and losing themselves in the woods. In the evening they performed plays for the
...more

Other books in the series

Tobie Lolness (2 books)
  • Toby and the Secrets of the Tree

News & Interviews

There are many ways to take action against racism. Reading in order to learn more about oppression and how to oppose it is just one of those ways...
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“[Toby] reflected that being cruel sometimes makes you rich and powerful, but it always makes you ugly.” 8 likes
“Little tree filled his lungs with the white airness of the night, as if he were going to fly.
The living voice of his parents. Elisha's eyes. These were reasons enough to set off on another adventure.
Reasons to be Toby Lolness again.”
7 likes
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