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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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.
This was an enchanting story about a teddy bear whose boy and his little sister are kidnapped by monsters from the Shadowlands because they want someone to play with. Unfortunately for the children the monsters kidnap the monsters don't really know how to play with them. They do things like placing children on one end of a seesaw then jumping onto the other end thus launching the children into the air.
Ari is Rick's teddy bear. One night while on watch Ari ends up fighting off some monsters who have invaded our world while other monsters are engaged in kidnapping Rick and his sister. Ari must go to the elders to ask for their advice and for help in bringing the children back to their own world. Problem is, there are only two teddy bears on the council and one of them, the head teddy bear, is not to be disturbed for any reason and the other, Aldus refuses to listen to Ari and instead banishes him to the desert with the other misfit bears.
What is a teddy to do. Thus begins the adventure of Teddy Bears in Monsterland. I enjoyed this short book so much that I hardly realized that three house had passed since I started listening to it. The book is well written and the narrator reminds of the librarians who used to read to the children every Saturday morning when my daughter was a little girl.
If you have children you should really buy this audio book and listen to it with them. It is a wonderful story for the young and the young at heart.]
I received this audio book from the author in the Goodreads Audiobooks Group in exchange for an honest review.