By BRUCE DENNILL
In The Land Of Marshmallows And Cockroaches by Candice Argall, Leigh-Ann Nel and Les Ramabula 6
In The Land Of Amazing Grapes by Stella Steenkamp, Candice Argall, Irshaad Butler, Sifiso Motaung and Les Ramabula 6
The Adventures Of Toby is a range of animated episodes and books centred on the titular character, a normal little boy making ordinary mistakes who, via the presence of Jesus in his heart and a prodigious imagination, embarks on some wild adventures that help to reveal the flaws in his perspectives and show him how his essentially good nature can be revealed. In The Land Of Marshmallows And Cockroaches sees the youngster struggling to come to terms with his sister Janet, who he sees as a selfish bully. He is shown, through an unlikely but exciting series of events, that his dislike for his sibling can make him feel beset by creepy-crawlies, while making a conscious decision to love and help her can (metaphorically, obviously) change those cocoroaches change into marshmallows. It’s not quite Kafka, but it’s an effective illustration. In The Land Of Amazing Grapes takes the biblical story of Joshua and the intial exploration of Canaan (hence the “amazing grapes” after the staggering bounty those first spies found in that land) as a mirror for the situation Toby and a friend find themselves in when their football goes over a wall into the property of a supposedly murderous fiend. Toby has to learn how to see people as Jesus sees them, and the results are revelatory. These are smart, to-the-point explorations of concepts kids (and adults) often struggle with, shot through with lateral thinking and creativity.