A teddy bear must travel into the land of monsters to rescue his boy who was taken in the night. In the process, he discovers a much larger plot that threatens all children everywhere. Welcome to a world where teddy bears come to life at night to protect the children, and shadow monsters are controlled by goblins and orcs. The first book in the Teddy Defender series will entice young readers that enjoy fantasy and adventure in the style of Pixar or Disney, as well as older readers who enjoy parallels to the tales of Orpheus or Dante's Inferno. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.
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Teddy Bears in Monsterland: An Urban Fantasy Novel: Teddy Defenders, Book 1. Series: Teddy Defenders. Written by: Justin Sloan. Narrated by: Michael Gilliland. Length: 2 hrs and 59 mins. Kids 8 to 10. Any age would enjoy this book from Parents listening with kids to Grandparents with the grandkids. As a reviewer and listener this was a cute and different take on a hero that you will not expect. A great short trip listen to keep the kids from wriggling in their seats!
Justin Sloan has written this cute story about a young boy Rick and his teddy bear Ari. Rick and Ari enjoy each other’s company. Rick loves watching monster shows with his bear Ari at bedtime. Rick pretending that he is fighting monsters using that “Hi Ya” saying as he karate kicks at the pretend monsters. Or are they imaginary? One night Ari hears something and wakes up and sees these glowing eyes. Before he could help Rick a monster starts pulling his boy Rick under the bed and they disappear. What can he do? Since his boy’s mom did not know that teddy bears come to life at night. Thought she will now, he had to save Rick. So as fast as he could make his little legs run to her bedroom door. Knocking as hard as his little paws could. Then all of the sudden he hears Rick’s sister calling out and as Ari enters her room and sees her being dragged under her bed and unable to save her as well.
What is Ari going to do? The mom could not hear him knocking on her door. He needed Rusty the old bear in the living room to help him. After begging for his help, Rusty pulls off his one loose eye and hands it to Ari and tells him that he will give this to a bear that will help him. He will know when he gets to the other side. That he needs to go through the attic to get to Monsterland. Pretty intense huh! It can be a bit scary so I would recommend that young children really should listen this with an older sibling or adult.
They will love to follow Ari and his rescue mission into Monsterland to save his boy Rick and his sister. Ari meets many characters throughout from the bears that just seem to care to others that do not care for humans. To the monsters that have not only Rick and his sister but, many other children. What are they doing with these kids? Can he and with the help of other bears save the humans? What does that button that Rusty gave him mean to the bear that it belong to? Will Rick and his sister make it back in time for Thanksgiving?
Michael Gilliland did an amazing job with his performance of storytelling and character voices. He made each scene come alive with the way he presented his voice. The concern, the silliness, the growling voices of the monsters to the fun voices of the bears. I hope to see that he will be the continuing narrator for this series. Just like adults, children bond with the voices that they listen to and want to hear them in the future of this series.
The cover of the book is really cute. Fits the story on how some of the bears have the blue glow coming from their paws.
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Audiobook provided for for review by the author.
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Don't push that teddy too far!
It’s the day before Thanksgiving. Rick and his sister go to bed dreaming of tomorrow’s meal – turkey legs and all. However, both are taken by monsters to Monsterland! Rick’s teddy bear, Ari, who comes alive at night, but pull together his courage and brave the dangers to save his boy and sister.
In this secondary world urban fantasy, Justin Sloan brings us a feel good tale of courage, bravery, facing down evil bullies, and true friendship (no matter what form it comes in). This tale had me laughing out loud on occasion as I pictured the determined or even angry faces on teddy bears as they went to arms. I loved the juxtaposition of ‘ferociously fighting’ and ‘teddy bears’. There’s plenty of other magical creatures in this story such as goblins. Ari starts off his adventure believing that any other teddy bear he comes across will give him a hand. He only had to worry about the monsters. Alas, things are not that simple. Quickly he learns that not all monsters look like monsters.
Meanwhile, Rick and his sister awake in cages. There are other kids, some who want to escape and some who have become a little comfortable bullying the newbies around. The monsters want to play with the kids, but this play is often too rough (think of a see-saw being used a catapult to launch kids into the air).
Most of the adventure is through Ari as he travels around Monsterland and deals with teddy bear factions and politicians, goblins, and other monster beasties. He has his first sip of honey and survives a bit of a sea voyage on a small raft. There’s plenty more, but I leave it for you to explore.
My one little criticism is that the ladies have pretty minor roles. There’s Rick’s mom, who has like 3 lines. His sister has perhaps 6 lines. There are perhaps 2 female bears, one of which gets to help out quite a bit near the end. As usual, I would have enjoyed having the genders a bit more balanced.
All together, this was a fun, and often surprising, adventure story. Ari’s powers are untapped at the beginning of the story. But as he gains confidence and determination, his powers grow. Also, he shows kindness when he can and this is probably his greatest power, gaining him assistance and even friends. If you’re looking for a fun and heartwarming story, then look no further!
I received this audiobook from the author (via the GoodReads Audiobooks Group) at no cost in exchange for an honest review.
The Narration: Michael Gilliland was a good choice for this book. He had a nice light tenor voice for Ari. He imbued his voices with plenty of emotion as the scenes called for it. His range of emotions for Ari was great as Ari goes through quite a few emotions on his quest. Gilliland also had believable little kid voices and female voices.