Cute Read 🏆

Spencer’s Magical Neighbors is an entertaining and vibrant novel, wonderful for children, and those who enjoy a quick and easy light fantasy read.


BOOK DETAILS:

  • Author : Mary Ellen Spencer
  • Narrator : Rosemary Benson
  • Publication Date: April 21, 2021
  • Length : 50 minutes
  • Publisher : One Night Stand Studios
  • Genre: Children’s; Fantasy

The sudden appearance of a portly gnome on a humdrum, ordinary day definitely threw me for a loop. When this gnome began to speak to me about building him a home in our neighborhood, I know my eyes were as big as saucers, but I tried to appear casual. And I even managed to answer graciously, “Sure, I’d be glad to.” Then other gnomes who wanted to live in my neck of the woods showed up. Fairies, too! They all became part of my world. And their world became part of mine. Life’s been astonishing ever since. 

Maybe you’ve never met anyone who lives beyond fairy doors. Well, I’d like you to meet my new neighbors. They’re really quite wonderful in their own magical way. Knock on their doors and have a chat. Make friends with fairies and garden gnomes. Come spend some time with us!

Listen to an audio excerpt here.

OUR REVIEW

Living in a world with magical creatures around every corner would be so much fun, right?! You can see them everyday, spend time with them, talk to them, and even play with them. As a human, there is nothing magical about bills to pay, work, or school so being able to dive into a good story with fun elements like this is where Spencer shines, especially when it comes to engaging children.

The storyteller begins by telling the audience that everything was quite normal, rather exceptionally normal and then one day, it all changes. Gnomes and fairies come out of the woodworks to ask for houses, doors, fences, and more. During this journey, the Storyteller is enamored by each individual asking for help and as the excitement grows, she becomes an integral part of their community. In such a short time, the Storyteller has befriended many while still housing a budding curiosity for them. What more will she learn from this new eye-opening experience?

Spencer’s story is very short, perfect for a children’s fantasy book. The characters are developed and introduced to the storyteller in line with the request being given. For children, this is easy to understand that there is only one character asking for help at any given time. Characters are not all piled on into the story like those for older audiences. The narrator not only enlivens the short story, but also has no trouble with portraying the personalities of each individual character. This also entices the reader. If you enjoy children’s fantasy or have a young one who needs a short and sweet bedtime story, this one will surely not disappoint.

An audiobook was provided to Turning Another Page by Audiobookworm Promotions and in no way affects the honesty of this review. We provide a four-star rating to Magical Neighbors by Mary Ellen Spencer.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary Ellen Spencer lives in a forested neighborhood near Harrods Creek in Kentucky with her cute husband Hank and her trusty dog Annie.  She likes to make things—fairy doors and birdhouses from gourds, men of the forest carved from stone, and wood spirits carved into cedar.  She enjoys growing things—like trees and hostas and oak leaf hydrangeas.  And sometimes stories spill out.

How did Magical Neighbors come about?

Magical Neighbors has been an inspired work. As an avid gardener, I first created a fairy garden, then I built fairy doors and gnome homes.  Stories about the fairies who live behind the doors rather magically appeared in my mind.  A little girl teared up when I told her a fairy story.  A young boy was empathetic to a fairy who was ridiculed and harassed. “I’ll be danged,” I thought to myself, “These stories have power!”  My neighbor suggested that I should write those stories down. Write a book! “Hmmmm… Maybe I could… Maybe I should..  Maybe I will…”  Then I did. Words and ideas flowed onto a blank computer screen. Of course, I had to do a bunch of rewrites.  My editor at One Night Stand Studios was definitely a tough critic.  But she made Magical Neighbors so much better!

How did you select your narrator?

The first time I had Magical Neighbors read aloud to me, I liked the way it sounded, and I thought to myself, “This is good. These are good stories!” I was actually a bit surprised how alive the stories became!  That’s when I knew that Magical Neighbors was best read aloud. One Night Stand Studios stepped up to help me find a narrator. We chose Rosemary Benson from the 53 auditions that were submitted.  We knew she was the right one to narrate Magical Neighbors. She was the right voice, and had just a touch of grit, which was perfect. We both smiled when we heard her interpretation of this book which included several accents. 

Why do you think Magical Neighbors resonates in a listener?

Magical Neighbors taps a variety of emotions, emotions that are some of the noble elements of the human spirit.  The tap on hearts is a soft one that hints of ways that we should treat each other. I believe that in Magical Neighbors there are stories that need to be told. Our world does not seem as gentle or as kind as it needs to be. Too much discord. The magical neighbors suggest that doing the right thing is a good thing; that we, too, can stand in the breach for those who cannot defend themselves; that character is not determined from appearance; that we can take action to be helpful and encourage others toward their success.

ABOUT THE NARRATOR

Rosemary Benson is an award-winning Audible #1 best-selling narrator, singer, educator, and stage actress. She has appeared across the U.S., Canada, and Italy, and regularly performs with several ensembles and big bands. A passionate learner and audiobook fan, she is at home in many genres. Her musical ear allows her to produce myriad accents for storytelling, while her expertise in differentiating instruction guides her abilities in nonfiction. She lives across the river from Philadelphia with her husband in a house full of musical instruments and books.


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