Gateway to Magic

Children - Fantasy/Sci-Fi
316 Pages
Reviewed on 03/20/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Annabelle Franklin lives on South Wales’s Gower coast, in an area of outstanding natural beauty that provides plenty of inspiration for fairy tales and fantasy. She has published one other children’s book, 'The Slapstyx', and her short story 'Mercy Dog' appears in 'Unforgotten' (Accent Press), an award-winning anthology themed around WW1.
Annabelle is currently working on a new series for children and a short story for a horror anthology due for publication later this year.

    Book Review

Reviewed by J. Aislynn d'Merricksson for Readers' Favorite

In Gateway to Magic by Annabelle Franklin, Steven is drawn into the world of fairy when his cousin convinces him to push a random button in the middle of a forest clearing. In the spirit of most kids just about anywhere, all it took was the bludgeoning force of the dreaded word ‘coward’ to goad him into doing something he knew deep down was a bad idea. Once in Fairyland, Steven’s whole goal is to get back home. He meets a shape changer named Nigel, who becomes an on-again, off-again companion, and has many adventures along the path back home. He's tricked by goblins and nearly eaten by the Constuper, learns the hard way that you can't freeload in life, ends up working for the Fairy Queen, and finally figures out how to return to Earth.

This book was full of good lessons! The Fairy Queen’s lesson about belief is a prime example, and we made it a discussion point with my kids. That lesson? If someone in a position of authority tells us something, we tend to blindly believe it. Also, unconscious beliefs still affect us. Inculcated beliefs instilled in childhood are a prime example. The young girl repeatedly told or shown by her immediate family that she is worthless grows up shaped by that limiting belief and loses a large chunk of personal power. These kinds of beliefs are very hard to break. The heart must believe as well as the head. The Queen also points out that beliefs shape reality, in both good and bad ways.

Gateway to Magic by Annabelle Franklin was a cute, quick read with some valuable lessons within. I shared this book with my little ones, who absolutely loved it. From their point of view it was “awesome.” The author did a wonderful job of painting the scenes, making things very easy to visualise, most especially the Forest of Pointy Fingers! I love it when authors bring a story to life by word-painting, and Franklin doesn't disappoint! Franklin’s Gateway to Magic is perfectly tailored to its target audience, as my brood can well attest. They all loved it, and we’ll be reading it again for sure!

'prolific reader' on Amaz

This is for all children who love gaming, and all the parents who never really grew up and are still entranced by the magic of the classic fairytales and the "other worlds" of Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree. Annabelle Franklin has the rare gift of being able to enter a child's mind. Stephen is a "hero" every boy and girl will identify with. His struggle against the absolute rule and authority of the Fairy Queen mesmerizing. And don't worry, boys will love this Fairy Queen - there's nothing girly or soft about her.
This is storytelling at its best. A book to read and re-read that will become a favourite in the tradition of the classics. I loved it, and as a "test pilot" for the books I buy my grandchildren I am one hundred per cent certain they will. I can't wait for their next bedtime.

Steve Jones, Amazon reade

I would say the author, Annabel Franklin is not mad on computer games, but she does know about them. She puts this knowledge to use by giving the notion of immersive gaming a whole new spin. The `hero' Steven Topcliffe becomes so immersed in his console shooter that he finds himself inside the game unable to escape, at least not without learning a whole new set of rules. One of his anguished discoveries is that the normal logic of gaming, the availability of power-ups, option to save the game and restart etc., doesn't apply if his nemesis, a mischievous dwarf decides it doesn't. My nephew, aged ten, and an avid gamer pointed out that this wasn't fair. This didn't stop him monopolising his mother's Kindle for two days while he read it and pronouncing it 'a really good story'. It also prompted a nice discussion on the differences between real life, which doesn't have incidental music, power-ups, and a save game facility, and video games. We eventually decided video games were not fair and incidental music in real life would be very helpful.

Robert Shaw

As an English teacher to younger learners, I will certainly be able to make use of this wonderful book in class. It's very imaginative and fun for the teacher too. Beautifully and funnily written. - Robert Shaw, Amazon customer

'alhaze' on Amazon

As a story teller Annabelle Franklin gets on with it straight away. I started reading this because I was looking for something for my granddaughter who loves fantasy stories. I ended up reading it all. Really entertaining stuff.

Daisy Lewis

This is a great book for children and adults alike and kept me turning my virtual pages. Really well written and entertaining. Loved it.
(Amazon customer review)

Kindle Customer

I am reading this book to my son and he really likes it. Great descriptions and a wonderful plot. It is a fun read
(Amazon customer review)

Olivia Nordyke

When I started to read this, I thought it would be a weird book, but as I got into it I really started liking it. Love the ending, but the bunny trail ending kills me!!!
(Amazon customer review)

Susan Lattwein

This story threw me back to Enid Blyton, but the snappy, witty dialogue gives a wink to adults reading it aloud. If I was still teaching, my young students and I would be settling down to this imaginative story in the classroom. Fiction is compellingly woven as fact (yes, I believe!) and Annabelle knows what makes children laugh. I particularly liked the bit about being the age you want to be, the Forest of Pointy Fingers and the ShapeWatchers Program.
(Amazon customer review)