Author Ryan Wakefield recently released his exhilarating middle grade novel, Journey to Jumbalot. Wakefield hopes that his work will teach young readers how to overcome their insecurities through the eyes of a reluctant, but loveable, hero — Alby the housecat.
In Journey to Jumbalot, Alby much prefers lazing around the house with his owner, Professor Wizoom, to racing off on literally wild adventures. But when Professor Wizoom vanishes through a magical doorway, Alby puts aside his scaredy-cat personality and races after him into a strange land of mixed-together animals. As Alby searches for his missing owner, he accidentally teams up with an annoying froguar and gets caught in a war between wolvaraptor pirates and tigeroon knights. Will the brave heart of one timid feline be enough to save the day?
Journey to Jumbalot is perfect for children ages 11-14 who enjoy animals and fantastical worlds. Readers praise Wakefield’s ability to foster the imaginations of young readers while imbuing the storywith valuable life lessons. The Independent Book Review describes Journey to Jumbalot as a “fantasy friendship adventure for the whole family — pets included.”
Wakefield’s work also includes themes of compassion, bravery, and imagination, the three traits featured in the book as part of the animals’ belief system on Jumbalot. As his journey progresses, Alby learns the importance of each and how to overcome his own self-doubt about what he can accomplish. From standing up to pirates to making new friends, Alby is both relatable and a great example to teach young readers about their own power as people.
Ryan Wakefield is an author and graphic artist. After developing an interest in the idea of creating new species from animal hybrids, he was inspired to write by his own beloved housecat, Albert. Wakefield currently lives in Florida with his wife, their pug Lily, and his moody cat Rocky.