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Tollins: Explosive Tales for Children Hardcover – October 6, 2009

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Iggulden follows the breakaway success of his nonfiction guide to restoring adventure to overprotected kids (The Dangerous Book for Boys, 2007) with another wickedly funny and ingenious read. This time, he creates an intricate fictional world in which the tiny Sparkler—Peter Pan–like in his mischief, Ulysses-esque in his cunning—holds together three separate stories. Tollins are tiny, nectar-eating woodland creatures with elf ears and wings but bigger than the fairies they casually use as handkerchiefs. They enjoy an idyllic existence until a fireworks factory is built in the village of Chorleywood. One of the Tollins falls into a rocket, producing the most bang for the buck ever witnessed, and the men of the village hunt the Tollins down to use as fodder for their fireworks. Parts 2 and 3 continue Sparkler’s perils and escapes from prison, execution, and a runaway hot-air balloon. Sparkler is a self-made scientist—it’s great fun to see him using applied chemistry for fireworks, finding herbs for medicine, and discovering the first steam engine. Duncan’s full-color illustrations and maps bring the world to witty life. A note at the end likens the Tollins’ fate to child labor during the Industrial Revolution. There is much to think about and love in this beautifully realized world. Grades 3-6. --Connie Fletcher

Review

“A deliciously subversive vein runs through this story collection-not surprising coming from the coauthor of The Dangerous Book for Boys…Iggulden’s flair for the ironic and absurd, which recalls Lemony Snicket, should tickle both kids and adults.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Series: Tollins (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (October 6, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006173098X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061730986
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,632,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Portianay VINE VOICE on October 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I am always on the lookout for books which will appeal to elementary-aged girls AND boys, and I believe TOLLINS is one.

There is enough eeeww-yukky-gross humor to satisfy everyone, without overdoing it, and plenty of tongue-in-cheek irony for parents as well.

I like the emphasis on curiosity, education, and alertness; after all, (without giving it all away), the plot really rests on all three.

On a side note: Thank you, Mr. Iggulden, for your treatment of fairies. As a librarian, I am nearly as tired of THEM as I am of VAMPIRES.

Absolutely PERFECT illustrations, Ms. Duncan!

And whoever decided on the cover looking the way it does: Excellent. Someone understands that kids like eye candy, too.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this on impulse at a local bookstore never having heard of 'The Tollins' or Conn Iggulden. I read it to my 5 year old son at bed time, and now on our third time around he keeps asking for more. Worryingly (or not) I keep obliging since I find it such a simple tale, yet one which is so utterly engrossing. It has that vein of humour which keeps us adults satisfied, yet at the same time it paints a fairy tale that boys and girls of the 21st century will fall into with relish. Being honest, it's not quite right for my 4 year old daughter who dotes on all things pink, fairy like and with princesses in every corner - quite what she'd make of the fairy handkerchief, I don't know. So be warned, it comes with a mild (very mild) PG warning. If you think your kids need a little bit of spice to add to their sugar, then the Tollins deliver by the bucket load.

You may want to know that the book comes across as being a little bit British, but in a charming, universal,sort of British way. There are a few references to locations dotted across southern Britain, but these should be viewed much as Westminster Tower appears in the Peter Pan Disney film - it serves as an anchor, but never intrudes.

A superb book, which is guaranteed to keep any 5 year old child completely enthralled for many a reading. An unequivocal 5*'s
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very entertaining read. My 6 year old daughter is ready to leave stories about fairies far behind in favor of Tollins. She is a good reader, but is fairly timid about conflict in stories. These three stories offer just the right amount of intrigue to keep her on the edge of her seat, but without prompting her to go running for her mother. The cute [...] website is worth visiting as well. Nice book reminds me somewhat of the stellar edition of Pippi Longstocking which was illustrated by Lauren Child. Recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
What a refreshing change of pace from the usually sugary tales aimed at early elementary students! This is a book about small creatures called Tollins that are invisible to humans but have their own society underneath the ground and spend their days flitting about drinking nectar. The three stories here are perfect for reading aloud and brought back memories of classic tales such as The Borrowers and The Littles.

This is not a fairy story. As the author is quick to point out, Tollins are not fairies and it is in fact rather disturbing how fairies are treated here. They wind up accidentally squished quite a bit, and are used as hankies by their larger Tollin counterparts. Who needs a snotty fairy? The humour here is sly and will be appreciated by a wide age range. This book made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. The writing is superb and the illustrations perfectly complement the story by adding to the charm of these small creatures and their exploits. Be forewarned, these stories are not for the faint of heart. Tollin health care consists of amputation for the part that is bothering you - even for a case of dandruff - and the High Tollin is prone to ordering executions. The whimsical nature of the illustrations help to sort of soften these moments and they end up just adding to the fantastical nature of the story.

I simply can't wait to see more adventures. This is a big recommend for anyone ages 5 and up and seems to be ready made for classrom reading all the way up to 4th grade or so... The gruesome elements and the humour are sure to keep even the older kids tuned into this unique book.
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Format: Hardcover
Checked this book out from the library on a whim and just happened to read it before I gave to my 7 year-old, and now I'm not sure I will pass it along to him after all. The fairy mistreatment throughout the book was funny-ish, I guess, maybe, until the end, where a fairy is apparently squashed to death while pleading for mercy and an end to the subjugation of his people.

It's already hard enough to instill a sense of compassion and fair play in one's children; I think some of the humor in this book is counterproductive to that end for young children still undergoing moral and emotional development. The science-y bits that were slipped in were a nice touch, but the "let's have a laugh at the suffering of these smaller helpless creatures" was taken too far. Gruesome is fine, even important sometimes, as long as it has its heart in the right place.

The illustrations were nice.
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