Tollins: Explosive Tales for Children

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9780061730986: Tollins: Explosive Tales for Children

These are the first three stories of the Tollins. Yes, they do have wings, but no, they aren't fairies. Tollins are a lot less fragile than fairies. In fact, the word fragile can't really be used to describe them at all. They are about as fragile as a house brick.

In "How to Blow Up Tollins" a fireworks factory comes to the village of Chorleywood and the Tollins find themselves being used as industrial supplies. Being blasted into the night sky or spun round on a Catherine wheel is nowhere near a much fun as it sounds. It's up to one young Tollin to save his people from becoming an ingredient.

In "Sparkler and the Purple Death" our hero looks execution in the face. Luckily, the executioner's mask in backwards.

Finally, in "Windbags and Dark Tollins" Tollin society faces a threat from the Dorset countryside, which, again, is much more frightening and nail-bitingly dramatic than it actually sounds.

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About the Author:

Despite finding time to write historical novels and The Dangerous Book for Boys, Conn Iggulden is in some ways better known as a trainer of Tollins. His Tollin troupe, Small and Mighty, are famous in Tasmania, where they often play to packed houses. Tragically, he lost his two best-known performers earlier this year. "The thing about transporting Tollins in shoe boxes," he says, "the really important thing, is to remember to put the airholes in."

Lizzy Duncan, with her trademark blue glasses, was a founding member of the Tollins in Art program, where inner-city schoolchildren are taken to the countryside by bus and encouraged to paint and observe Tollins in their natural habitats. Tollins: Explosive Tales for Children was her first illustrated book.

Lizzy's abstract paintings of Tollins are much sought after whenever they appear at Sotheby's auction house, and she is very active in promoting Tollin rights and registering them as a protected wetland species—or as a dryland species, if the weather's been good.

Conn and Lizzy's first book together, Tollins: Explosive Tales for Children, was published in 2009 to great critical acclaim—and has ensured that no one will ever mistake a Tollin for a fairy again.



Despite finding time to write historical novels and The Dangerous Book for Boys, Conn Iggulden is in some ways better known as a trainer of Tollins. His Tollin troupe, Small and Mighty, are famous in Tasmania, where they often play to packed houses. Tragically, he lost his two best-known performers earlier this year. "The thing about transporting Tollins in shoe boxes," he says, "the really important thing, is to remember to put the airholes in."

Lizzy Duncan, with her trademark blue glasses, was a founding member of the Tollins in Art program, where inner-city schoolchildren are taken to the countryside by bus and encouraged to paint and observe Tollins in their natural habitats. Tollins: Explosive Tales for Children was her first illustrated book.

Lizzy's abstract paintings of Tollins are much sought after whenever they appear at Sotheby's auction house, and she is very active in promoting Tollin rights and registering them as a protected wetland species—or as a dryland species, if the weather's been good.

Conn and Lizzy's first book together, Tollins: Explosive Tales for Children, was published in 2009 to great critical acclaim—and has ensured that no one will ever mistake a Tollin for a fairy again.

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

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