Book Review

Book Review – The Adventures of Tooki: The Secret of the Stones by Jamie Courtier and Vicky Kimm.

Tooki An exquisitely illustrated and enchanting adventure story that will capture the heart and the imagination and show us that nothing is what it seems and anything is possible.

When Tooki loses his way in a snowstorm, he is cold and afraid and all alone; but in this moment of great danger, Tooki’s fortunes are about to change for there is an unexpected kind of magic waiting just where he least expects to find it.

I was completely taken by the synopsis of this book, it sounded like it would be a lovely read. I’d only previously read one graphic novel aimed at the 7+ age group before I picked up this book so I was curious to see how it would work.

The book is lovely, and warm, and lots of fun. It tells the story of the Tufties, at the beginning of the book they are preparing for the winter and their annual migration from their stone circle – they complete their harvest, and as the seasons begin to change far too rapidly they make a hurried departure for their winter home in the lowlands. Tooki, our hero, becomes separated from the rest of the Tufties and discovers some of the secrets of the stone circle.

The story is very simple, yet very clever – it covers quite a lot of ground in a very accessible manner. It would give plenty of opportunities for discussion, both in terms of how individuals relate to one another and in broader concepts too. There’s a great sense of adventure to the book, I liked how the line was clearly drawn for what was okay and what wasn’t – there are moments of peril and great emotion, but these are kept in check to make it entirely suitably for the young intended audience. Tooki and Obo (another key character) are both really engaging, I found that I warmed to them instantly and wanted to know more about them and their lives.

The art in the book is wonderful. The first double spread of the book introduces all of the Tufties – 20 in all, I loved how individual each one of them was. This was mirrored by the closing pages which contain a similar roll call for the Shuffleys, another tribe who feature heavily in the book, this time there are 23 characters, and again all very individual. The colours used really help to give the sense of the weather, and the season – I particularly found I began to feel cold when I was reading the section of the book set in a rather fierce snow storm! There’s plenty to take in from the illustrations, I read the book twice and found I spotted all sorts of different things on my second read through!

The book closes with the suggestion there may be further stories to come, I really hope this is the case – I want more adventures from Tooki and Obo!

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Tomorrow I will be hosting a fantastic two part interview with Jamie and Vicky all about this book. Please do drop by to hear all about the book and how it came to be – the answers are fascinating!

The Adventures of Tooki: The Secret of the Stones will be published by Walker Books on 5th September 2013. Whilst I was provided with a copy of the book to review all opinions expressed are my own.

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