Title: Toby Alone
Author: Timothée de Fombelle, translated by Sarah Ardizzone
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Concepts: wealth, greed, economic development, slavery
Review: The original and imaginative novel Toby Alone whisks the reader to and fro in time while describing the plight of a likable miniature boy who has lived his entire life in one tree. The predominant concepts present in this allegorical work center on the consequences of social stratification, greed, the accumulation of wealth, unsustainable economic development, global warming, slavery, xenophobia, overpopulation, extortion, and corruption. Additional topics treated include animal rights, immigration, unfair elections, and the persecution of the intelligentsia, plus the overarching importance of nature appreciation and environmentalism. Aside from all these themes, at its core Toby Alone is about friendship, trust, and survival. Numerous pen and ink illustrations enhance the suspenseful, action-packed story, which is targeted for middle grade readers and is nearly 400 pages in length. The hardcover edition features a wonderfully detailed poster depicting Toby’s entire world.
Review by: The Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children