[Lab/Knoss/Alt Pas. back 4M?]
I admit, Anastasia, my nerves are tingling like tin soldiers. But I will do it.
(Third published entry, posted at Becky's Book Review on 2/12/2010)
First, I saw you sneaking out of my room. Don’t ever go into my room again, or Uncle Caleb’s dogs will snack on you in the night.
Second, I know you put this journal on my pillow. Stop being such a creep. The fact that you even touched my pillow means that I’ll have to burn it immediately. Did you think any of this would impress me? Sneaking around writing about yourself? Could you be weirder?
Third, I don’t believe any of it.
Fourth, if you want to impress me, change. Don’t be you anymore. Don’t be the Richard Hutchins who calls himself Richard Hutchins. I’ve seen you wear pink sweatpants, and I won’t ever forget it. But if you want me to try, start playing baseball. Be normal. Don’t notice if you get hurt. Never, ever, ever whine to me or anyone else about anything again. That would be a start.
Fifth, I don’t care that you’ve been stabbed and (if you’re not lying) hit with a broom and scratched on the ankle and bruised on the face and pinched by crabs. I just read your stupid journal and that was worse than anything you’ve ever gone through.
Sixth, you’re a chump and a sneak and a weasel and an annoying Math tutor. If you died, I probably would be a little sad for you. But I’m sure I wouldn’t notice for a very long time.
Don’t talk to me tomorrow.
P.S. If you still feel like pretending to be brave, I picked out another cupboard for you from this journal:
#23. Collected 1900. Tin-plated drawer. Single pull. First report: Ireland. Local innkeeper with a sealed room. Cursed, he said, with vipers. Seven guests killed in a week. Locked up since. Wouldn’t let me into the room. After dark, broke in and located the drawer easily (noticeable hissing when opened). Pried it loose and bagged it quickly. Left before morning.
That one should be fun for you. And if I never see you again, at least I’ll know how you died.
Toby Alone by Timothee de Fombelle, illustrated by Francois Place, translated by Sarah Ardizzone, 400pp RL5
With his marvelous new book, Timothée de Fombelle does exactly this. He makes a tree the living center of the universe for the reader and, through his magnificent writing, enhances a sense of wonder. With his subdued environmental themes, as well as the portrayal of nurturing, empathetic relationships among characters, he encourages a respect for life. As Toby thinks to himself on day three of being snowed in (for what turns out to be over 120 days) while he is going over his provisions and figuring out how he will survive, "What was he missing? What keeps us alive more than anything else? Other people. This was the conclusion he reached. Other people."
This book is not to be missed, for all readers - child and adult, fantasy and reality lovers. It would make a wonderful read aloud as de Fombelle's language is frequently beautiful even though the events of the plot can be harsh at times. Interestingly enough, I finished reading another book by a French author the same week I finished Toby Alone. Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog, although it is not a fantasy and has no environmental themes, does manage to examine the complexities of human nature while exploring the wonders and riches that art, in any form - literature, painting, sculpture, film, food - bring to the human existence and life in general. I may be grasping at straws to link these two, but I did feel that both books brought important ideas and images to the forefront of my mind in ways that other books have not.
For those of you who purchase this book in hardcover, a real treat is in store. The dust jacket unfolds and expands to reveal a beautiful map of the tree! And, for those of you who read or listen to the book, another, even better treat awaits you... The sequel, Toby and the Secrets of the Tree, is due out in August of 2010.