I bet you thought my 26 in 2010 project got shelved. Well, not really. It was just paused and I’m working on getting right back to where I need to be (which is G for those of you who are curious).
For my D book, I chose Toby Alone by French author Timothee de Fombelle. This is a Young Adult novel but more along the serious lines of Harry Potter than the frippery of Twilight. In other words, you will completely forget this is a Young Adult novel except for the fact the main characters are teenagers.
The story of Toby Alone is the story of a world of people who at their tallest reach 2 millimeters in height. Pause. Consider that. Do you know what 2 millimeters is? Black ants, the tiny ones, are about that size. Toby’s people inhabit a Tree. That is the extent of their world. They know nothing of anything outside of their Tree beyond rumours of the violent Grass people. Rumors of life beyond the Tree or even other trees are nothing more than legends. Toby’s world is turned upside down when his father and mother are jailed. Toby’s father is a great scientist in the Tree whose research does not mesh well with very wealthy and powerful figures.
This is, of course, quite the commentary on society, the environment, politics, greed, and corruption. Beyond that, the imagery is stunning. De Fombelle’s descriptions of the various parts of the Tree are breathtaking and easy to fall into. The pace is good and quick and the various characters are interesting despite some of their more stereotypical or predictable attributes. The ending is hardly that of tidy packages.
This is absolutely a great book to read gearing up to Earth Day with your middle school or high school child. You’ll both enjoy the reading experience and the discussion opportunities are endless.