Toby and the secrets of the tree by Timothee De Frombelle

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Translated by Sarah Ardizzone. Walker Books, 2010. ISBN 9781406325454.
(Age: Upper Primary and early Secondary). Well recommended. This engaging fantasy adventure novel is written in the style of good overcoming evil, love overcoming hate and true friendship. Elegantly translated, the reader follows Toby as he tries to defeat the tyrant Leo Blue now his enemy, but once his best friend. There are many branches of people who become intertwined in the story.
The double page illustration at the beginning gives the reader who hasn't read Toby Alone, an idea of the multitude and complexities of the characters. Set in the great oak tree which is on the brink of devastation, these diminutive people play out their own stories, many horrific for fear and brutality is Leo's world. Charming Sim and Maya try to give hope while tunnelling their way to freedom.
The many twists and turns make this a fascinating and wonderful read.
Sue Nosworthy