Outside in World | Browse Books
Use our Book Finder to search for books by Title (or part of the title), Author, ISBN, Age Range, Keyword, or Continent/Country. Then simply click the magnifying glass to start your search.
‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Rafa Ruiz
Age Range: 9-11
When the poplar trees in his valley town, set deep in the mountains, disappear to make way for a new section of road Toletis, his dog Amenophis, friends Claudia and Tutan are on a mission to find ingenious ways of replacing them and of disrupting the widening of another road across their town.
This beautiful philosophical tale by Spanish author Rafa Ruiz is suffused with flowing poetic prose, eloquently translated by Ben Dawlatly. Each chapter provides a snapshot of Toletis’ childhood, what he thinks, how he feels – acute observations on nature, animals and people.
The twelve chapters follow the seasons; some are imbued with a dreamlike quality while others provide gentle humour. In ‘A Piece of Mist’ Toletis describes the mist –“The mist was so gentle and wise that Toletis decided to capture a piece of that frayed and flossy, white, tender blanket, a piece that would be able to put right some of the town’s imperfections.”
When the children ask their artist friend Matthias why he never finishes any of his pictures, he replies “that way nobody buys them, and I get to keep them forever.” Toletis spends some time “ruminating on the idea of always leaving a little secret, intimate, blank, unrevealed gap so that nobody could snatch away those things that meant so much to him”.
There’s humour aplenty in the chapter on ‘The Wobbergong Language’. A language with a vocabulary of 47 words learnt from his auntie Josefina, because it was the way she spoke. Not that she knew she was doing anything odd – a thingamabobble is a thingamajig, a muddle, or codswallop. A bubblesome person is a buoyant, lively person with panache and a cheeky sense of humour. Other words in the Wobbergong language included dodgy-bodger, discombobulate, collywobbles and blunderbuss.
Toletis is an absolute must read for both children and adults. It’s an ode to the environment, with its deep appreciation of nature, and to childhood where magic realism combines with the importance of family and friendship. The passing of time and reflecting on life pervades throughout. With extraordinary artwork by Elena Hormiga this captivating story is one to relish; it’s timeless because it can be read again and again. A book that is surely destined to become a classic.