Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

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Parents' Guide to

Toby Alone

By Kristen Breck, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Offbeat eco-message tale weighs some complex, dark themes.

Toby Alone Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Based on 1 parent review

age 10+

Great adventure story!

Brilliant environmental allegory! My son (11) absolutely loved this book. It inspired some deep questions about humanity, political really made him think about our society and how we treat each other. Overall, it was a great adventure

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1 ):
Kids say (2 ):

Toby Alone is a wild, unending ride. The world of the Tree is well-imagined and described, complete with lakes, bark caves, lichen forests, as well as nefarious political and industrial characters. The illustrations are a nice addition, and the map inside the cover is enjoyable to scour. There are memorable pieces of wisdom, such as, "Fear is what makes you fall," "Beauty sometimes sneaks into the hardest of hearts," and "When you mourn somebody, you also mourn what they didn't give you." 

While the plot is fairly simple -- Toby's journey to find and set free his parents -- the twists and turns, myraid characters and motivations, and multiple flashbacks make for a complex and intricate tale. There are more mean and undesirable characters than there are inspirational ones, and this has the bizarre effect of making his world feel one-dimensional, especially since the bad guys are fairly stereotypical. Readers may feel ready for his journey to end long before it does. Hearty readers may enjoy the highly detailed saga but still wonder how the story could end so abruptly.

Book Details

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