Monday 4 December 2017

Toletis by Rafa Ruiz Book Review (age 7-107)

Toletis is a new book release from Neem Tree Press, themselves a new publishing house producing books that change and broaden perspectives.

Written by Rafa Ruiz, excellently translated from the original Spanish by Ben Dawlatty and beautifully illustrated by Elena Hormiga, Toletis is recommended for anyone age 7-107, and I think that's probably about right.

The text is well-spaced for younger readers and doesn't feel too imposing. Although there are some tricky words, they're mainly phonetic and names, so often repeated. I'm not entirely sure how to pronounce them all, let alone my 7 year old, but it won't change the story.

The translation of this book is superb. Although you are reading a book which was originally Spanish, you can barely tell, and it was warm blustery Yorkshire fields I saw in my head as I read. It's accessible to all readers, but feels that it maintains the author's original intent throughout.

My boys were both amused by the title, but Toletis starts with an explanation of the name, so that gets that bit over with. It reads very much as if you are listening to someone relate stories from their childhood, with lots of tales that make you smile that knowing, sideways smile...

You are never quite sure if what you are reading is the result of a child's imagination, or an old man's romanticised and magical memories.

The action centres on Toletis and his friends Tutan and Claudia, and his family and pet dog. The 3 friends have all kinds of childhood adventures, in a mixture of real life and imaginary play. Most of their tales start out in reality and end in impossible, but somehow you aren't entirely sure where that blurred line is.

There are regular illustrations and they are quite different and very fitting. There's a real beauty in many of them and the collages are all as abstract as the stories they depict.

Toletis has an ecological message and is used in some Spanish Environmental Awareness classes. The children in the book appreciate their beautiful countryside surroundings and, unlike the adults, are not too busy to ignore the steady decline of the trees or the shepherd's secret talents.

Toletis is a beautiful book. Incredibly easy to read and painting a beautiful world which is so real you can almost smell it. It takes you back to the innocence of childhood, where imagination takes over during play and almost anything can happen. You are allowed into their world, told their secret words and in-jokes, and you feel it's a privilege to do so.

Toletis is written by Rafa Ruiz, translated by Ben Dawlatty and illustrated by Elena Hormiga. Published by Neem Tree Press. Recommended for anyone age 7+, it has 162 pages. Available now from Amazon, rrp £15.99.

We were sent our copy of Toletis for review. I am an Amazon affiliate, which means I earn a few pence if you order through my recommendation, but you don't pay any more. 

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