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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Fantasy Trilogy through the eyes of a child

Portals Series by Ryan Jakubsen

What were you doing when you were 9 years old? Eating dirt and picking your nose? Yeah, me too . (BAK: Hey! I was working to overthrow the Galactic Empire and training to be a Jedi!) Well, In 2009, Ryan was writing a trilogy about another world populated with Manimals, trees with eyeballs hanging from their limbs, and Cornea berries.

Portals is a three book series that follows the adventures of 4 teenage brothers who were separated when a tornado hit their house. Each boy was sent through a portal into a strange land populated by creatures that are part human and part animal, Manimals. There are the friendly Wolf Manimals and their enemies the Lion Manimals, Hermit Crab Manimals that live in the sea and only come to shore once a year. And it's not just the fauna that's special, the flora's pretty crazy too. The Manimals eat special leaves to get power to fight for justice and the Cornea Berries will help you see better. It is a little like Narnia, but not…if that makes sense .

I was stunned and amazed at the efficiency and charm of the prose, and Ryan’s imagination knows no bounds. This is a story that would appeal to 3rd through 6th grade boys and girls considering my 10 year old daughter devoured them. Each book is around 100 pages long (about the size of most Scholastic chapter books) and the stories are fast paced and action packed. I found myself not able to put them down.

Ryan is a natural story teller, and while he is a very talented young man he did have help. He is part of a writing family so it comes as no surprise that he made some stories of his own. His mother is an editor and his grandmother, Dixie Land, has an independent publishing company called Alabaster Book Publishing. Ryan dictated the story to his grandmother while she typed it for him, and Ryan’s older brother, Ross, created the Manimal illustrations through out the books. It's very much a family production.

This is a series I think should be in all school libraries as and inspiration for the kids and because it is a kick butt story! You can buy paper copies of his books on amazon or at his publishers website. Ecopies will be available in the future.

Considering this a story written by a 9 year old for kids his age, I give this 5 Portal traveling Sheep!

Portals: (Book #1)

Four young brothers are swept into the adventure of their lives when a tornado strikes their North Carolina home, separating them and sending each in different directions to strange new lands reached only through portals.

When they finally reunite, they face several species of fearsome manimals, half-man, half- animal creatures, some peace loving, others cruel and heartless. One brother becomes a king; one is captured by the enemy. The remaining brothers must join forces to outwit the fierce lion manimals, rescue their kidnapped brother and regain control of all the portals if they ever hope to get back home!

Warning: Once you start reading this story you won’t want to put it down until you read the last word.

Portals II: Battle in the Skies (Book #2)

The Pierce brothers’ adventure continues in their quest to return home after they recapture the wolf manimals rightful land. But the celebration is cut short when they discover that the diamond, which is key to operating the portals, is missing.

The search for the lost control begins only to have the sky darkened by a cruel, vicious new enemy, the crow manimals. As they run for cover, Lucy is snatched from Axel’s grip and carried to a far off land. Awesome and powerful Eagle manimals join forces with the wolf manimals and the brothers to search for Lucy. Just when things are looking hopeful, Axel is critically wounded.

You won’t want to put this fast-paced page-turner down as you live every minute of the adventure with Axel, Exile, Alex, Jared and Lucy and their new friends.

Portals III: Band of Rogues (Book #3)

The Pierce brothers, Lucy and Jackellel bid their wolf manimal friends farewell and link arms at the entrance to the Portal to return to the land they call home. They leap forward and are swiftly carried through the Portal until a sudden shift in the current sends them off track and spews them into a strange, timeless land. A land with prodigious eyeball trees that swing in all directions preventing passage beyond their landing point.
Suddenly, a man appears out of the woods and clubs the largest tree--it bows before him. The travelers discover an amazing secret about this man named Jake. They agree to join forces with him and his followers to defeat the odious and powerful Lomeane, leader of a band of rogue criminals who are intent on exterminating them as well as controlling the portal.
Before their electrifying exploit ends, they encounter a helpful spider, Araknia, a fearsome creature known as The Dark One, and a new friend, Will, who wishes to return to their land with them. They’ve attempted to get home before and failed. Will it be possible for them to prevail at last--or will they once again be thwarted?

Check out Ryan's page here

SS (editing and snark by BAK)


  1. Sounds like a crazy talented kid! I will have to check these out for sure. :)

  2. Very cool! I won't say what I was doing at 9 for fear f being labeled a freak... ;)