Spellbound, A Fantasy Magazine for Children, Fall 2001

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"The Bird Girl" by K. Manchip
"The Field Trip" by John M. Lance
"There Goes the Neighborhood" by Stephen D. Rogers "Splinter" by Chris McTrusty

Spellbound is a professionally presented, saddle-stapled magazine with a glossy black and white cover. The interior also has black and white illustrations. There are only four stories, as well as poems and some short non-fiction articles. It's all aimed at children (9-13) and it does a good job at targeting its audience. While the stories might seem simplistic to adults, I think most children would enjoy them. They aren't complex — far from it — and are very short, but they are nicely written and appropriate to the age range the magazine claims as its target.

"The Bird Girl" by K. Manchip
Iona is a girl with a special gift — that of being able to bring the dead back to life. It's a gift she has thus far only used on birds, much to the chagrin of her parents, who labor in service to the prince. Yet Iona's quirky power proves to be just what is needed, and she learns that two people can be more alike than different despite their stations.

"The Field Trip " by John M. Lance
Edward Neck is awakened in the middle of the night by a host of strange visitors — an adult vampire taking his brood (a dozen child vampires) out for eating lessons. A comical story that incites smiles as we see the put-upon teacher trying to deal with his class. Anyone who's ever had to deal with children, or who currently spends five days a week in a room full of classmates, will feel for the poor Mr. Count and relate to the kids.

"There Goes the Neighborhood" by Stephen D. Rogers
A very short piece about a poor, beleaguered monster that gets some neighbors it doesn't want. Of all the tales, this one seemed to me to be the most adult. Nicely done, but I'm not sure the target audience here would understand the reference or relate strongly to the situation.

"Splinter" by Chris McTrusty
Tasmin Graves is the town hoodlum, quick to take advantage of any opportunity to lighten someone else's pocket. When an unattended moving van with a large box in the back presents an opportunity, Tasmin can't resist, and convinces his cohorts Greg and Lance to help him, despite the van being parked in front of the town's "one and only haunted house." The story follows the trail one might expect, with no surprises, but it's a good read and sure to be enjoyed by kids.

David L. Felts is a webmaster and sometimes writer who currently resides in Palm Harbor, Florida. His stories have appeared in Writer's of the Future, Gothic Net, Neverworlds, Flesh and Blood, and others. He's the publisher and editor of the hard-copy semipro magazine, Maelstrom Speculative Fiction (http://maelstromsf.tripod.com), and also the webmaster for SFReader.com (http://www.sfreader.com).