Ramon's World: Beyond the Edge of Reality
by Dan Roberson
Trafford Publishing

"He wasn't supposed to hear and understand animals. He was from the modern world, where facts, not feelings, controlled the world."

In this twofold fantasy from Dan Roberson, young Ramon Garcia is caught between the ancient spiritual realm of his mother and the modern world of his scientist father. In his effort to understand both sides of his heritage, Ramon comes to realize his innate connection to nature.

At his father's insistence, Ramon becomes an agronomist. In his study of plants and genetic structure, he looks to improve the agricultural—and global—landscape. His mother hopes he will follow his heart and enlist the guidance of his Aztec ancestors. In this multi-generational, coming-of-age tale, we envision Ramon as both a father and grandfather. Both his daughter and grandson inherit their own connections to nature and the spirit world. Within a literary dreamscape of beauty and bounty, Roberson reveals Ramon as a man who works with nature instead of against it. His ultimate goal is to create a "garden of peace."

While this story points to realities such as spousal abuse, bullying, kidnapping, and political coups, Roberson offers a striking contrast in the beauty and protective offerings of the spirit kingdom. Here a magical Lewis Carroll charm takes the form of anthropomorphized rabbits, rescuing bees, and a conversational bear. Since cultural heritage plays a role in Roberson's storyline, Spanish phrases in the text add a nice touch and easily translate within the book's context.

This is a compact, well-crafted tale. The special blend of fantasy and reality should entice adolescent readers drawn to this genre and perhaps others looking for an escape that combines nature, science, and ancient lore.

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