Toletis: For Ages Seven to 107

A review of 'Toletis: For ages seven to 107' by Rafa Ruiz 

Francesca Gater

Toletis' adventures are about the simple pleasures in life. With his dog Amenophis and his two friends Claudia and Tutan, young Toletis likes nothing more than to climb the Big Hill and visit the tallest apple tree in town, or to catch mist in a sheet, or to make fruit salad for the family Sunday lunch.

This is a charming little book that gently imparts wisdom and love for the natural world. Toletis observes signs of the seasons changing - and his mood with it. He knows a birch from a beech and an ash from an oak. He savours his favourite smells with all five senses. According to Toletis, nature teaches us many lessons, whether or not we want to learn them or are clever enough to understand them.

The book also contains lessons beyond nature. Toletis learns not to be upset but to join in when his friends laugh at his sticky-out ears. He knows from his Granny Ursula that the best, most original gift you can give is memories. And he understands death; he misses his Grandfather Rafael enormously, but sees him every day in the last rays of sunlight before night.

When I think of the children I know, I fear that it will be hard for the slow-paced, sense-rich stories in Toletis to compete with the fast, noisy stimuli they're used to - but it won't stop me trying. The values contained in the pages - of love for the outdoors, animals and plants, friendship, family, being in touch with your emotions - make the world a better place.

If you believe that the best hope we have for a safe, peaceful planet is to teach children to love the environment and one another, then I recommend that you read Toletis with the children in your life.