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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Andy and his Magic Phone Visit the World Next Door is a time-travel adventure fantasy for children and preteens written by Kim Ebner. Ordinarily, Andy dreaded his birthdays; he hated all the attention and knew the presents his parents would be able to afford to buy him would be disappointing at best. His twelfth birthday, however, started out very differently indeed. For one thing, the present he dreaded receiving from his mom and dad turned out to be a cell phone! He had wanted his own phone for such a long time and couldn’t wait to show his friends at school.
Then, something strange happened during class; a nasty person kept texting him and demanding his phone. After having his phone confiscated by his teacher for reading those texts instead of paying attention, and being assigned after-school detention, Andy’s initial good spirits seemed totally diminished. On his way to his teacher’s home for detention, he was grabbed by a fearsome old lady who angrily demanded the phone. Shaking himself free, he made his way to Mr. Casper’s house and followed his voice down into the basement. Mr. Casper was in the middle of an experiment and need Andy’s assistance, but, suddenly, that old lady was barrelling down the stairs and demanding Andy’s phone once again. Whatever could happen next?
Kim Ebner’s time-travel adventure fantasy for children and preteens, Andy and his Magic Phone Visit the World Next Door, is an action-packed and imaginative tale. Who would have guessed that there’s a parallel world next door -- one that’s only for children to play, eat candy and sweets, and have endless fun in -- one that’s strictly closed to adults? When Andy’s transported to this magical place, he soon learns that the evil old lady, Elvira, is set upon destroying the children’s paradise. She’s brought in and ensorcelled adults to do her bidding, and she’s imprisoned any children they find in order to steal their magic. Andy’s at the perfect age to be an epic fantasy hero, and his exploits rank up there with those of Frodo, Alice, and Tom Sawyer. The marvelous illustrations scattered throughout this tale give it a graphic novel feel and are filled with immediacy, motion, and magic. My favorite would have to be the drawing of Elvira’s cave-castle, which looks eerily like my imagined picture of Tolkien’s Mordor.
Along with the fun and adventure, readers learn to value the different skill sets others have and get to see first-hand how working together can make seemingly impossible things happen. And while Andy misses his mom and dad and keeps on thinking about that chocolate birthday cake that’s waiting for him, he’s having the adventure of a lifetime, filled with challenges to face, magical powers to master, and stalwart companions to confront any and all perils with. I had a grand time reading Andy and his Magic Phone Visit the World Next Door. It’s most highly recommended.