Title: Toby Alone
Author: Timothée de Fombelle
First published January 1, 2006
392 pages, Hardcover
ISBN: 9781406313154 (ISBN10: 1406313157)
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About the Author
Timothee de Fombelle was born in Paris in 1973. He spent his childhood traveling to Africa with his architect father and spending summers in the French countryside with his five siblings.
They spent their time building treehouses, playing in the river, and getting lost in the woods. In the evenings, they performed plays for their parents and read books from the library.
Timothee sees his childhood as a lost paradise that he rediscovers through his writing.
As an adult, Timothee became a literature teacher in Paris and Vietnam before pursuing a career in the theatre. He has written a dozen plays and is involved in all aspects of production.
His wife, Laetitia, is his favorite actress and they work together on many projects. They have a daughter named Jeanne Elisha who shares her father’s love of climbing trees.
Timothee’s first novel, Toby Alone, has been translated into 22 languages.
Timothee is passionate about books and theatre and has been writing since he was young. He uses life’s joys and trials as inspiration for his work.
As a great traveler, he considers the writing of Toby Alone to be his best journey yet.
Toby Alone by Timothe de Fombelle is a delightful children’s novel that expertly weaves together adventure, friendship, and environmentalism. Published in 2006, Toby Alone tells the story of a young boy named Toby in a world that is unkind to the little people.
The author, de Fombelle, is a French writer, whose work has been translated into many languages. The novel is set in a world where little people, who are about 1.5 millimeters tall, live among the roots of the great oak tree.
Toby is a “thumbelina-sized” boy, who lives in a tree and is pursued by two groups of people. The first is scientists who want to study his environment and the second is a gang of bandits who want to kill him.
Toby sets out on a journey to find his father, who has been taken by the scientists. De Fombelle’s writing style is full of imagination and energy while his narrative is driven by strong characters with whom readers can empathize.
The novel’s environmental theme is subtle but powerful, emphasizing the importance of protecting the planet, especially its forests. The overarching theme of the novel, however, is the need for human connection, no matter how different people may be.
The novel’s strengths lie in Toby’s character development and the many poignant moments interspersed throughout the story. The world-building is also fantastic, as de Fombelle’s descriptions of the world are vividly imaginative.
However, the novel’s pacing is sometimes uneven, slowing down in some parts and speeding up in others. The multiple subplots can also be a bit overwhelming for younger readers and can detract from the main story.
Despite its flaws, Toby Alone is a fantastic read for young people and adults alike. It’s a great reminder of the importance of preserving the environment and valuing human relationships.
Fans of works like Mary Norton’s The Borrowers or Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach will love this imaginative and heartwarming tale. In conclusion, I recommend Toby Alone to anyone who wants a fun and well-written adventure story with an environmental twist.
The novel is perfect for readers aged 9 and up and would make a great addition to any child’s library. I give Toby Alone an 8.5 out of 10 for its imaginative world-building, powerful themes, and strong character development.