A review by roshreviews
The One Great Gnome by Jeff Dinardo

adventurous hopeful lighthearted mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot


Think about your favourite childhood fantasy books. What did they have? Adventure, danger, fun, thrills? Gnomes, trolls, sprites, elves? Secret passageways and hidden treasures? Rivalries and friendships? And most importantly, a happy ending? Do you want a single book that contains each and every item mentioned here? Here’s the book you are looking for. 

The One Great Gnome is a middle-grade fantasy featuring an eleven year old Sarah who finds herself struggling to settle in rural Connecticut after a life in NYC. While exploring her new house and its surroundings, she discovers a statue of an old garden gnome. Imagine her surprise when somehow, the garden gnome comes to life. Her, and our, adventures begin thereon. 

I loved the story. It has nothing exceptional and yet it is exceptional. It has everything a great children's story needs: fabulous writing, interesting characters, quick pacing, loads of fun adventures and plenty of moral lessons. I felt as if I were talking a nostalgic amble through my childhood storybooks, especially through The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland.

There is a secret clue hidden within the book title too which I can't reveal as it is a minor spoiler. But I just want to say to the author: I loved that secret, especially because I couldn't figure it out till the end and felt quite foolish for taking so long to realise who/what it stood for. 

I was fortunate enough to receive the audio ARC of this book from NetGalley. And man! How that enhanced my experience! Simone Stevens, take a bow! You are one heck of a narrator! This wasn't just a narration, it was an outstanding acting performance. So many distinct voices for each character, such feelings inserted in every sentence, such fabulous enacting of sounds such as laughter... I've rarely enjoyed an audiobook as much as I did this one. To add to the experience, I loved the producer's decision of adding sound effects wherever practically possible. To hear the door creaking, the footsteps stomping, the cat mewing, ... Wow! I'm sure children will enjoy all these sounds as they listen to the story. 

Recommended for every child and every adult who forgot to grow up.

Thank you, NetGalley and One Elm Books, for the Advanced Audio Review Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.