Sir Toby Jingle's Beastly Journey
A Knight to Remember
Why We Love This Book
Once upon a time, many years ago, I raised a "passel of younguns".
Standing firm in my convictions that television was not the promoting the values by which I chose to raise my children, I read books to my brood - a LOT! Over the years, some all-time favorites arose, from the thousands of books that we owned. From our family library, allow me to introduce you to one of our most dearly beloved, unforgettable children's books - Sir Toby Jingle's Beastly Journey.
I loved the author and illustrator of this book, Wallace Tripp, before I even opened the cover. Although it is very, very short - less than 36 pages - the memory of the pleasure this book brought to me and mine - is lengthy. A quick read, with a delightful story, this hardcover book should be in every family's repertoire of favorites, and here's why...
Disclaimer: All photos here were taken by me, using my own camera, from our copy of Sir Toby Jingle's Beastly Journey.
A Timeless Knight for Nighttime Reading
Who can resist a tale about a Knight?
Right off the bat, the title page will grab you – it features a castle, complete with the classic grated iron gate and drawbridge.
Leaving the castle, is a knight on horseback, waving “good-bye” over his shoulder, as he sets off on a quest. Or, maybe he’s just going out to eat – I don’t know – but, the title page is just priceless.
The story begins, with Sir Toby Jingle “trouncing a troll”, and apparently doing a pretty thorough job of it, too! The troll is running for his life, and the look on his face is enough to let the readers know, that he is terrified!
High Time For A Change
Weary Sir Toby...
For more years than he can count, the valiant knight has successfully defended Grimghast Forest, and kept his hometown safe.
The champion of the townspeople, Sir Toby Jingle has fought off foul fiends, gargantuan griffins, and craven creatures. The denizens of the forest shrink, at his approach. Due to his cunning and skill, he has gained a reputation of possessing magical powers, and has become a legend, in his own time.
However, the years have caught up with the skillful paladin, and he is weary, down to the bone. It’s time for the crafty warrior to spend his last days, enjoying a new adventure.
Time to Retire?
Sir Toby Explores His Options...
Realizing that he must effect a change, he plots.
Aware that his body is showing signs of rebellion, Sir Toby decides that there are better ways to spend his winter years, than fending off fiends, massacring monsters, and grappling with ghouls.
Nestled in his chambers, long into the night, Sir Toby scribbles down his ideas. Never one to let an opportunity pass, he finally comes up with a “brainstorm-and-a-half”. Fully aware that his success has been wrought by cunning, skill, stealth and surprise, he devises an ingenious plan, to effectively retire.
What better way, to enjoy his hard earned rest, than to engage his former foes, allegedly to seek his fortune – and theirs! Oh, they’ll think he’s serious – but, just wait - you’ll see…
All of this burning the midnight oil, is about to send our beloved knight on his last adventure – Sir Toby Jingle’s Beastly Journey.
The Griffin's Gripe
The griffin had a serious vendetta against Sir Toby.
One of the knight’s adversaries, a griffin, nursed a grudge, that went back a long, long way.
When he was just a little “grifflet”, Sir Toby had clipped his wings. Now, anyone who knows anything about griffins, knows that you do not touch their wings, EVER – much less clip them!
As a matter of fact, the less you have to do with griffins – the longer you will probably live. Very few have been known to grapple with griffins, and survive to tell the tale!
Imagine his delight, when he saw the aging knight riding through the forest, all alone. it didn’t take long for him to conspire with his buddy, the bear – to effect Sir Toby's demise.
The Bear With an Attitude
The Griffin's Ally - The Bear
Definitely not smarter than your average bear…
She may not be the “brightest crayon in the box”, but she has a long memory.
The bear remembers when Sir Toby slashed her nose, leaving her marred with a permanent scar – that’s her basic “beef” with the knight.
Unwilling to admit that the knight is a formidable adversary, the bears thrills to tell any and all who will listen, that Sir Toby’s sword jumps out of its scabbard – on its own! I guess that’s how she explains why she wasn’t swift enough to get away before she incurred a nasty gash on her nose.
She and the griffin are in cahoots, and they are deliciously delighted to see him alone in the forest. They are convinced that the knight will be an easy mark for their ploy.
The Determined Dragon
Fat, and lazy, but committed to help his cronies…
Usually to be found, resting his leg, sunning himself on Skull Rock, the dragon is only too willing to join in the caper. Due to a past skirmish with Sir Toby, the dragon has a decided limp.
His enthusiasm for the enterprise is fueled by the memory of his many dragon relatives who were prematurely sent to the Sweet Dragon Cave Up In The Sky, by the energetic application of Sir Toby Jingle's legendary “magical” blade!
Lazy as he is, he manages to slither off Skull Rock, and enlist in the effort.
The One-Eyed Tiger
Why the eye patch? You’ll see…
As the bunch of “merry marauders” go along, they encounter the tiger.
Once he finds out what the jaunt is all about, he adds himself to the growing enclave of animals and monsters, accompanying Sir Toby Jingle, auspiciously to seek “their fortunes”.
He can’t quite see as well as he used to, before an encounter with Sir Toby cost him an eye, but he manages to see his way clear, to put aside whatever was on the Tiger Calendar, and march on, with the rest of the troupe.
The Ornery Ogre
Here we have one odious, ornery ogre!
The ogre gives up a hot “fox chase” to add his support to the mingled mix of monsters accompanying Sir Toby, on his elusive “fortune hunt”. Not usually one to fraternize with anyone else, other than fellow ogres, his is beside himself with glee, to “pitch in”.
The knight had relieved him of three fingers, and he has been seeking an opportunity for revenge, ever since. Skeptical of the claims of the others, that Sir Toby can make himself invisible, and see clearly from the back of his head, the ogre leaves his dinner cavorting through the woods, to live to see another day, and “follows the band”. Reminiscent of the Pied Piper of Hamlin, no?
The conspirators devise an ambush…
Hatching “lame-brain” ideas, seems to be the specialty of Sir Toby Jingle's adversaries. As their journey proceeds, the knight escapes one scheme of theirs, after another,
They attempt to seal him in a cave, which the knight knows as well as the back of his hand. Later, they carefully position a huge fallen tree above him, as he warms himself by a fire. What happens? Foiled again!
The creatures are desperate – they repeatedly have him within their grasp – certain of his imminent destruction, and Sir Toby emerges unscathed. Finally, in a last-ditch effort, to get rid of the geriatric knight, they lure him to — Goblin Well!
Little do they know their nemesis, and his infinite intuition, perception, and cunning.
The Surprise Ending!
Now, we can’t tell you exactly what happens, but…
Sir Toby, wearied by countless years of confrontation, has not left his castle for naught. He is well aware of the futility of believing he can continue to defend Grimghast Forest as an elderly knight. All of the late-night hours he spent, plotting and planning – were not to be spent in vain, as we shall see…
His methodical circumventing of all of his enemies’ ambushes, his unraveling of their schemes – has brought the beasts to a “pitch-point”. The knight knows that he has them right where he wants them – pent-up with emotion, tired, and frustrated!
Sir Toby halts the “fortune hunt”, declaring himself to be lost, and suggests they stop at a nearby castle, for directions. All of his foes enthusiastically agree to his suggestion, convinced that the interlude will give them the opportunity to map out their next scheme for his demise.
Little do they know, what awaits them, behind the castle doors!
Now, we obviously cannot tell you what happens next – that would defeat the entire purpose! You’ll just have to get the book for yourselves, and read it. Frankly, I have enjoyed Sir Toby Jingle’s Beastly Journey as much as, or more than, my children ever did. I searched out copies for each of them, so they could enjoy Tripp’s marvelous book, with their children!
Still Available on Amazon
Another Delightful Book from Wallace Tripp
Did Sir Toby's Beastly Journey get any awards?
I really don't know, but...
Throughout my long lifetime of reading, there have been precious few children’s books that have received the coveted All-Time Favorites Keepsake Book Award. This one, did! That’s my own unique rating-and-award system. Just because a book received a Newberry Award, or makes it as a Weekly Reader Children’s Book Club selection, is irrelevant, if the recognition is not given to a book that I deem worthy. I have seen some “doozies”!
I must say, that Wallace Tripp’s book about Sir Toby, featured here, is in a class by itself. Published in 1976 by Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc., this one should be in every school’s library. I just cannot recommend it enough, and hope that you can find the time to procure a copy, and enjoy it, too!
What Did You Think?
Tell us...have you read it? Would you read it? Have you read any of Wallace Tripp's books?
Have You Read Sir Toby Jingle's Beastly Journey?
What about YOU? Do you like stories about knights? How about your children?
No, I don’t mean – “How do you like stories about your children?” – I mean, do your children like stories about knights? Have you read the book? Do you own it? Pardon me – what did you say?
OH, YOU want to know how the story ends…well…I can’t tell you that! You’ll have to check it out at your local library, or buy the book, yourself – just as I did many years ago.
© 2014 Emily Tack