Travels of Thelonious

ISBN: 0689876858
ISBN 13: 9780689876851
By: Susan Schade Jon Buller

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Adventure Animals Children Childrens Dystopian Fiction Graphic Graphic Novels Juvenile To Read

About this book

In a world of talking animals, there is one burning question: Did humans ever exist? Thelonious Chipmunk believes he has proof that they did: a postcard showing a building made of concrete and glass. But his sister thinks the postcard's just a dumb piece of paper, and that humans are only make-believe. Then one day a flash flood carries Thelonious away. When he comes to, he's in a strange world that looks something like his postcard, but not quite. Then he realizes that this is the city on his postcard, only crumbling and decaying. But if this means humans did exist, where did they go? Thelonious, along with some new friends, sets off to find out. And thus, the adventure begins!

Reader's Thoughts

Gail Gauthier

I found an e-mail today that included a mention of this book, which I'd forgotten about. I read Travels of Thelonious as part of my judging duties the year I was on the Cybils committee for science fiction and fantasy. It was a really beautiful looking book and I liked the story. I think I made a joke at my blog about its being a child's first apocalyptic story.

Chinasa Izeogu

In the first book of this dystopian trilogy, Thelonious chipmunck is wisked away from his home in the Unnamed Forest and must outsmart villanous lizards and make friends with unlikely predatory animals to get home. In the City of Ruins, the animals have taken over the buildings, wear clothes, and survive on what is left since the Human Occupation. WIll Thelonious and his friends, Olive the flying bear, Fitzgerald the porcupine and the Brown lizard, a deserter of the greedy despot Dragon Lady fly safely to Fog Mountain? You'll be swept away in this part comic, part chapter book adventure.This book is a great selection for teachers to use as introductions into English and Science lessons.English concepts: language, grammar and homonyms (homophones) p. 145 (bare, bear)The animals make a distinction between talkers, using low language of grunts and growls. Teachers could discuss proper English, slang, pidgen English etc.Science concepts: hibernation, ectothermal, lichen, conservation, greenhousesThis book is a great selection to use in a book club. It's a quick read and would entertain youth ages 9 - 11.****Spoiler Alert****In this illustrated (part comic, part chapter book) dystopian tale, a young chipmunk name Thelonious discovers that the folklore he has believed in all lhis life is actually true. Thelonious Chipmunk from the Untamed Forest is wisked away down tthe river during a terrible rainstorm. He awakens at the beach in the City of Ruins and sees a bear wearing human clothing. Fearful of this obnivorous creature, Thelonious flees into the city ruins where he is approached by a shady lizard named Brown. The lizard is one of the ratsmink of the Dragon Lady, the greedy despot ruling the City of Ruins. Brown lizard almost leads Thelonious into servitude to her Ladyship, but he escapes into the sewer system.Emerging above ground again, he discovers a bookshop where Fitzgerald the porcupine lives. Fitzgerald spots him and invites him in. Thelonious is given shelter and eats his first human food: canned peaches. Fitzgerald learns of Thelonious's plight to return to the Untamed Forest and vows to help in any way possible. With the help of Fitzgerald's friend Wally the porcupine, they learn about the flying bear named Olive. She is from the Fog Mound. She crashed in the City of Ruins, but has a velocicopter, which she plans to use to return home. She offers to take Thelonious home.Thelonious is apprehensive but then he spots the lizard who has been eavesdropping. He knows it only a matter of time before the Dragon Lady invades the hanger and steals the velocicopter for herself. He agrees to fly home.Unfortunately, the attack comes before they are prepared and they make a hasty get-a-way leaving Olive's sister's journal and the maps she drew of the area and of the secret passageway into fog mountain. The building catches fire and Olive hopes the sensitive documents were burned before the ratminks saw it.On the journey home. Thelonious discovers a stowaway. The Brown lizard has climbed aboard to escape the Dragon Lady. Thelonious gets home, but decides to go on to Fog Mound with Olive, Fitzgerald and Brown. As they approach Fog Mound they are attacked by Eagles who drop stones on the velocicopter in an attempt to protect their nest. The travels crash into a tree and are unable to repair their aircraft. They continue on their journey piecing together the directions to find the secret passageway into the Fog Mound. They narrowly escape the fog and emerge in the basement of Olive's house. They discover a frozen human scientist who they dethaw.Olive's friends settle in to life on the Mound.


In this illustrated novel (part text, part comics), Thelonious the chipmunk gets caught in a flash flood that washes through the Untamed Forest and deposits him in the bay near a post-apolcalyptic city. He doesn’t know how to get home and the tall buildings are strange and intimidating. It seems like all the animals here are talkers, and not all of them are friendly. He hears about the Dragon Lady, who has slaves. He meets Fitzgerald the porcupine, who promises to teach him to read. Together they decide to check out the mysterious bear (“Bear of the Mist” as Thelonious likes to think of her) who crash-landed in the City of Ruins and who is supposedly from the mythical Fog Mound, where a community of animals live in peace and harmony.It took a little while to get into this, but about halfway through it really picks up and becomes hard to put down. The writing is not top-notch, but it really is adequate, and the comics sections are a lot of fun and change the pace in a nice way. I honestly wouldn’t mind if the entire thing was comics; it might work better that way. It also has a great ending–it wraps up the first volume in a really satisfying way, while simultaneously and smoothly opening to the door to a sequel. I wanted to read it right away, but it’s checked out right now.And I can’t stop thinking about the tiny human! So strange..


This book is a quick and entertaining read and follows the patterns of hero/quest stories (with a curious chipmunk as protagonist). It is in many ways a cautionary tale of the misuse and abuse of our planet and implications for the HUMAN race. I am going to read the next book in the series (a great one word cliffhanger ending in this one!). I am thinking there might be hope for humans after all in "Faradawn"...


This is the story of a chipmunk named Thelonious who clings to a postcard of tall buildings. Legends says once long ago, only humans could use language, but now there are no humans, and all animals can talk. One day Thelonious is swept off by a flood and lands in a place that looks like his postcard. Who are the other animals he meets and what can he do to return to his own home and his family?

Michelle Cristiani

I loved this book, and highly recommend it for both older children and adults. It has talking animals, post-apocolyptic chaos, and is half-graphic novel. With short chapters and comics in between, it's an easy read. It has just enough twists and turns to keep interest, and leaves a lot open for discussion. Brace yourself: I liked it better than Hugo Cabret. I said it. So sue me.


Well, simply put, this is a great, fun series for kids. What could be better than a world in the future where humans have gone extinct and animals have evolved to have language and opposable thumbs?! They get to be the ones who doubt the evidence left on earth about humans' existence! I love how the author and illustrator use the various, interspersed chunks of graphic novel and prose format. This really seems to help the reader get through the longer reading parts and build his reading stamina, waiting for the next big payoff, that fun long chunk of graphics! It's too bad they haven't written a fourth in the series! Wonderful for 3rd grade on up!


This is a fun, sweet novel for middle readers. It's told partially in text and partially in graphic novel format, and tells the story of Thelonious Chipmunk. Thelonious is a Talker, an animal who has inherited the gift of speech. He is fascinated by tales of Humans, who it is said once controlled the earth. They're now extinct, however, and considered legendary. Thelonious leaves his forest home and travels in the outside world, learning more about humans and the origins of the Talkers in the process.The story is a bit simplistic at times, but the world is truly delightful, and the artwork is well-suited to the tale. It looks like it's going to be a series.


This is the first "advanced" book that I read with my 6 year old son in the sense that he read quite a lot from it on his own with myself continuing when he got tired or to clarify things. Told as an alternating mixture of text with image chapters followed by comic like image with text chapters, the first volume in the saga of the curious talking chipmunk Thelonious and his adventures in search of the mythical human beings that used to dominate Earth a long time ago Absolutely suitable for a beginning (K-1st) reader to transition from image based books to chapter books and a very good story for 5-8 year olds. Followed by Faradawn and ending with Simon's Dream which my son devoured after this one - they are similar and you will like them as much as this one


Part novel, part graphic novel, Travels of Thelonious is about the journeys of a talking chipmunk living in a future world in which humans exist only in legends. Thelonious, who is very interested in human legends and artifacts, is accidentally washed away from him home in a flood. He meets a colorful cast of animal characters, and learns a bit more about the legends he loves so much, as he tries to find his way home. Really cute story. My six-year-old thought this book was awesome and went on to rapidly devour the next two books in the series.

Tara Schaafsma

Thelonious Chipmunk. But no, he's not a jazz musician. He's a talking chipmunk from the forest who gets swept downriver to the City of Ruins, where legend says humans once lived. And from there, he goes on more adventures. Very fun. I read it at the same time as my 7 and 8 year olds, who also enjoyed it, so it's not hard and doesn't take too long to get through.


I saw this book recommended in someone's review of Hugo Cabret, so I got it through inter-library loan. I wanted to enjoy it, but I felt like the story was thin. There isn't a lot of dramatic tension, and there certainly isn't much compelling in the way of dialogue. The chapters alternate between comic book style (aka graphic novel) and prose with some illustration. That part is well done - the transition is always very smooth. But while this is the first in a trilogy, I have no desire to read the others. It's not that it's bad, it's just not very interesting.



Cleo Berninger

I keep wanting to write something fantastically pithy about much I like this book. After putting this off for more than a week it is time to face a fact that I'm not going to take the time to do it. So, just read it, OK? It's good, really good and a sneaky way to infiltrate young minds on some dang good thinking. Buy a copy for your young reader friends and family.


Travels of Thelonious / Susan Schade / Genre: fictionFormat: juvenile fiction/ almost graphic novelPlot Summary: At a time when animals only know myths about the talking humans who once dominated and nearly destroyed the world, a young chipmunk escapes danger in the City of Ruins and, with new friends, finds the Fog Mound, where all creatures live in peace and harmony.Considerations: suspenseful overtonesReview Citation: School Library Journal, vol 52, issue 7, p129"Written in chapters that alternate between traditional prose and comic-book format, the story is a gentle introduction to graphic novels. The illustrations are delightfully cartoonlike, and they are tinted in a soothing blue that beautifully complements the postapocalyptic setting."Selection Source: School Library JournalRecommended age: 9-12

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