Thumbelina of Toulaba

Written by Daniel Picouly | Illustrated by Olivier Tallec
Thumbelina of Toulaba
by Daniel Picouly
Illustrated by Olivier Tallec
(Enchanted Lion, 2007)

In this re-telling of one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most popular and enduring fairytales, Thumbelina comes to life in Toulaba, a magical place inspired by the author’s Martinique heritage. While the poetic quality of the original remains, the change of locale adds curious new dimensions to the story. Also, here Thumbelina is far less passive and more modern than in the classic tale. Children will be able to easily identify with the plucky heroine who uses kindness and cleverness instead of size and strength to make her way in the wide world.

Olivier Tallec’s bold, dramatic paintings of Thumbelina’s Caribbean-accented world of Toulaba shimmer with light and color, while showing the world from Thumbelina’s perspective. We immediately feel as though we are looking into a world of giants!

Over the course of her adventures, Thumbelina escapes from a terrible iguana mother who wants Thumbelina to marry her son, after which she encounters a showy sloth, a blind crab-eating raccoon and a caiman. Along the way she learns what true friendship is and that she has to believe in herself, even if it means saying no!


“This retelling should be hailed for its positive depiction of a beautiful, heroic brown-skinned little girl. The metaphorical language, symbolism, and whimsy should appeal to many different readers on many different levels.” – Multicultural Review

“This re-invention set against the background of Martinique is startling in beauty and mystery.... There is a fierce bravery in every brushstroke, and an explosive, expressive abandon of the conventions of the color wheel. The garden has taken over, and all we can say is: wow." –

“Tallec’s bold, stylized illustrations reflect the exotic feel of the text.” – School Library Journal

More info

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.
Sign in or register to post comments.


More new titles

new titles

On the Abolition of All Political Parties

Dissecting the dynamic of power and propaganda caused by party spirit, the increasing disregard for truth in favor of opinion, and the consequent corruption of education, journalism, and art, Simone Weil forcefully makes the case that a true politics can only begin where party spirit ends.
new titles


Jean Echenoz, considered by many to be the most distinguished and versatile living French novelist, turns his attention to the deathtrap of World War I in 1914.
new titles

Thus Zarathustra Fell Silent

A brilliantly original graphic novel that takes on the history of Zoroastrianism, one of the oldest monotheistic religions of the world.