HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: The Amazing Adventures of Toby the Trilby
Author: Angela Castillo
Cover Illustrator: Cherie Haines
Publisher: CreateSpace, 2013
Related website: http://www.tobythetrilby.weebly.com (series)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: Ages 10 and up
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Castillo, Angela. The Amazing Adventures of Toby the Trilby (published in 2013 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform). Do you have any idea what a trilby might be? Twelve year old Toby was created by six older scientists who had taken refuge in an underground shelter during something called the “Great Calamity” which caused extensive devastation on the surface of the earth. These caretakers, or “grambles” as Toby calls them, were lonely and wanted a grandchild, so they strung together human DNA, added some cat DNA to fill in the gaps, formed him in a test tube, and brought him to life in an incubator. He has some characteristics of a cat—ears, tail, and claws, but is mostly like a boy and can talk. They called him a trilby.
Toby has lived his entire life in the caverns and received an excellent education from the grambles. But as a result of his studies, he has a question which they can’t answer. Does he have a soul? Then one day he hears a mysterious Voice calling him to go into the outer world. There he meets a group of swamp people who worship a goddess Natura, and he rescues a girl about his same age named Mia whom they are going to offer as a human sacrifice. Toby’s hope is for Mia and him ultimately to return to the grambles and build a house near the cave. However, after they travel on a bit, Mia gets hit with an arrow shot by a man who is protecting his village. What happened to cause such a disaster on earth? Will Toby and Mia survive? And most importantly, will he ever find out if he has a soul?
The Amazing Adventures of Toby the Trilby is identified as “Christian Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Dystopian,” but don’t let the word “dystopian” turn anyone off. Much of the current dystopian literature for children is dark, gloomy, and often godless, but while Toby and Mia face many trials and hardships, this book is solidly based upon a Biblical worldview and offers glimmers of hope. It is such a refreshing change of pace for those of us who believe the Scriptures to read an adventure-filled science fiction/fantasy type of work in which someone seeks the “Soul Creator,” and in which there are no elements unsuitable for children. Also, Toby is a good role model for courage, perseverance, and kindness toward others. Author Angela Castillo has already written a sequel, The Further Adventures of Toby the Trilby in which a bright light falls from the sky and Toby finds himself on a quest to find the source of the light.