I get a lot of inspiration when I’m out walking the dogs. For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated by tree hollows, rock pools and other small spaces that could be full-sized homes, communities or even kingdoms for tiny magical beings. I rarely take a notebook and pen, as the best ideas usually come when I’ve got no way of writing them down. This isn’t much fun for the dogs, because when I have a good idea I have to get home immediately and get it down on paper. Even if we’ve only been out for 10 minutes.
In his excellent book ‘On Writing’, Stephen King explains how two totally unrelated ideas can come together and give birth to a story. This is more or less what happened in the case of Gateway to Magic. I was wandering through the woods with Millie and Pearl, idly picturing fairies in flowers and goblins in grottos, when I started thinking about a boy I knew who couldn’t bear to be parted from his games console, and… POW! I saw him in Fairyland, surrounded by beauty and wonder and magic, but hating every minute because there were no video games. I saw the disgusted expression on his face turn to one of horror as he realised he would have to use his own ingenuity to survive and get himself home. There would be no controlling this dimension with a console!
I cut the walk short, rushed home and started writing the story of Steven Topcliff, a gaming fanatic who gets himself stuck in a dimension where all technology is banned by law. On subsequent walks, further characters evolved: Tracy, the spiteful cousin who goads Steven into activating the inter-dimensional Gateway, Nigel the Nuisance, an out-of-control Shape Shifter who insists on being his best mate, and the diva-like Fairy Queen who embroils him in some mysterious game of her own.
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! – J. Aislynn d’Merrickson for Readers’ Favorite
I absolutely loved this story and have no doubt in my mind that young boys and girls will love it just as much if not even more… Gateway to Magic is beautifully written and full of childhood humour which had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion and there are also some valuable lessons to learn. – Kevin Cooper
Even though this is a children’s book I did enjoy reading it to my daughter. The author has a really good imagination and I think a younger person would have been totally engrossed in the magical world of fairies and goblins. My daughter loved the Sock worms and Fairy queen. The characters and places are fun and certainly magical and even though Steven faces real danger he manages to get out of it. It gives the advice through way of punishment that if you do something wrong you should work out why it is wrong, learn from it and change yourself so you don’t do it again. – Angelbear
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. – Robert Shaw
This story threw me back to Enid Blyton, but the snappy, witty dialogue gives a wink to adults reading it aloud. 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. – Susan Lattwein
My grandchildren absolutely love this book. Without giving too much away, our hero, the very modern game playing Steven, finds himself transported into a fairyland worthy of Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. A magical world ruled by a terrifying fairy queen. Will he – can he – get back to his own world? Finding out led to exciting bedtime story sessions and cries of “just one more page”. This is a book for children and adults who haven’t forgotten the power of “faery” or the delights of living in “imaginative other worlds” that come with reading. Even the most reluctant reader will want to know more about Steven and his adventures. And, after I read it to my grandchildren, I left the story on my Kindle. Grown ups need a little magic now and again as well. Annabelle Franklin is that rare children’s writer, one who’s never forgotten the delights and fears that are so much part of childhood. I look forward to reading more of her work at bedtime. – Prolific Reader