Tobi Little Deer, author
Lake Isle offers a refreshing look at ordinary people in common life situations, as told from the viewpoint of a dog. Lake Isle is Tobi Little Deer’s stand-alone sequel to his New York City adventure, Little Tramp. The author’s pen name is taken from his little dog, but in life as in those stories his name is Ted, a translator of books from French to English while teaching both languages in Paris and New York, and the former owner of a celebrated designer women’s clothing company for a decade. The Tobi Books are written for teenagers, but also for people of all ages who appreciate dogs, recognize their “personhood” and empathize with them. Lake Isle is a story about a family and its history in a place and at a point in time. There are two intertwined plots in Lake Isle. One is Tobi Little Deer’s personal story. He is a little dog raised in New York City and very happy living there, until his owner, Ted, leaves him on his family’s Vermont farm in a town bordering a beautiful lake where dogs roam free. As Tobi waits and pines, he has no way of knowing whether Ted will return. Drawn into the vibrant life of the farm, how well can he adjust to the family’s idea of a dog’s role and place? He follows the farm dog Rex into mysteries of the night and ends up lost and alone. Then, wandering through the back country and around the lake, trailing other animals at his peril, Tobi encounters unforgettable people, some of them historical leftovers. But will he make it back to the farm in time for Ted to take him home? Or is Lake Isle his home now? Equally important is a second, accompanying plot, the story of a multigenerational family as the baton is passed from one generation to the next. Ted’s father’s generation is in charge when the novel opens, but tragedy imperils the succession. By the end of the narrative it is Ted’s generation, namely his sister and her family, who have stepped in to maintain the family legacy. It is an account of a family’s endurance, forgiveness, and love, encompassing a transition from a culture of French-Canadian ethnicity to one of greater diversity. When the dog, Tobi, is deposited into the family’s world surrounding Lake Isle, his wanderings are the conduit through which family members are introduced. The story’s events encapsulate a time of transition when the old still exists and the new is coming into its own, with warnings of what could ultimately go wrong.