What, you may ask, did Jessie the Flufamancer do? Well, he animated the plush creatures of the children. Then he made them do his evil bidding. I can’t even begin to tell you about the bidding that he bade, but just believe me when I tell you that it was evil!
That’s the third (or so) paragraph in this collection of short stories — and it’s the one that convinced me I wanted to finish this.
It’s a collection of stories about various adventurers (or the like) going to Teddy Bear Island to try to find Jessie (for various reasons), to find treasure, just to prove they can — or any number of other reasons that dwarves, elves, humans, orcs or kobolds might find themselves adventuring (There are more kobolds in this collection than I’ve probably ever read before — and I really liked them). They’re designed as campaign starters for the RPG, Teddy Bear Island, or to enjoy on their own. They work either way.
There’s a sense of play, a sense of fun in the middle of traditional-ish fantasy adventure stories. The various plush animals are a hoot, my favorite idea was the hydra-bear. I don’t know that I can point to any particular stories and say “This is one of the best,” — or the worst, actually. They’re all delightful in practically equal amounts.
There are laughs, puns, pop-culture jokes and danger in the midst of the goofiness of stories. It’s hard to explain, but imagine a less-intense version of The Lord of the Rings, but populated by stuffed animals (and you’ll be pretty close).
I am not an RPG player — I’ve tried, but just never clicked with me. But these stories make me really want to, first time since Dragons of Autumn Twilight that a book has had that effect on me. Which is sort of the point, right? Even without that, it was a fun collection of adventure stories
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this from the Publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts.