Toto’s Apple by Mathieu Lavoie, (Phaidon) HB RRP $24.95 ISBN 9780714872513
Reviewed by Stephanie Ward
Meet Toto. He’s a worm. A very determined worm. He wants an apple, but it’s high up in a tree. That won’t stop Toto. He will do anything to get it. Through creative plans and his penchant for art, Toto tries a variety of ideas to get the apple. When Didi shows up and picks the apple, is Toto’s hard work all for nothing? The surprising ending shows that perseverance pays off even if it’s not in a way we expect.
Toto’s Apple tells a unique story aimed at 2 – 5 year-olds. With bold, hand-painted illustrations and sparse text, young readers follow tenacious Toto cheering for him and each of his clever plans. Although commendable, each ends in disappointment, but Toto keeps trying teaching children the importance of commitment and never giving up.
Author-illustrator Mathieu Lavoie has created a charming, unconventional picture book with an endearing character that is sure to resonate with toddlers. His talent shines as Toto’s emotions are apparent in the slightest changes to eye shape or the direction of Toto’s gaze. So much is communicated in the tiniest details that children can easily recognize. This is a fun, sometimes shocking, sometimes humourous book that is a pleasure to read over and over again.