Dr. Woodruff’s irresistible fantasy, Dr. Fuddle and the Gold Baton escorts readers into a magical tale of danger, kidnapping, deception and adventure wrapped in legendary prophecy. There readers meet almost twelve-and-a-half-year-old Tyler, his mute sister Christina and friends, Antonio, Kathy and Leonard. A group chosen to save the enchanted land of Orphea by re-capturing the stolen “Gold baton” and restoring Orphea’s once pristine beauty. The only requirements—they must learn to play the “sacred instruments” and re-capture the “Gold baton” stolen by the evil musician, Jedermann.
The delightful account begins with Tyler’s return home, where instead of walking blocks out of his way to avoid passing the ghostly manor on “Willow Street Hill,” he decides to confront his chilling fear. Even though his mother had warned him away from the mysterious residence before she died months ago.
“Just a few more steps” Tyler thought, “…I’m almost past it…” and he began to count the steps beyond the ghostly manors reach. Then he heard the special Beethoven piece “…his mother always played for…Christina.” The rich, melodious piano chords stopped Tyler midstride.
The harmonious refrains reminded him of his mother’s last words the night she died, “…you’ll do something important…I’ll send you a clear sign when it’s time…” The connection between his mother and the music gave him the courage to approach the stained glass manor window and peer through the golden glass. He saw the translucent figure of a man seated at an “enormous grand piano.” His supernatural fingers flew over the black and white keys to produce the lovely Beethoven melody as strangely dressed people appeared, then disappeared…while deep inside a brilliant golden door bid him enter…
Thus begins an enchanting fantasy of memorable musicians, a “Gold baton” and the mystical power of music to captivate for good or evil. The journey includes dark musician, Jedermann, magical Dr. Fuddle, Seiren’s—monstrous catlike shape shifters, Erkenbald the gnome, Orphean children and more in a tantalizing tale that leaves readers wanting more.
The result is a literary musical masterpiece that enchants readers long before the last page is turned, similar to C.S. Lewis’s classic Narnia series, one of my all-time favorites. The narrative is rich with classical music from “musical giants of the past” such as Beethoven, Bach, Liszt and Mozart. Musical terms like chords, chromatic scale, harmonies and rhythms are creatively woven throughout the story. Perhaps most important—classical music is portrayed as fascinating, high-tech and “cool” as the “messengers of music” fight to wrest the “Gold baton,” from Jedermann’s evil grasp.
Besides the connection between music that creates darkness and disharmony, I also understood why Hollywood contracted Dr. Woodruff’s current and future work for books, movies and a Broadway production. Dr. Woodruff says he “…hopes to complete the second book of the series by year’s end and one book a year thereafter. The film is currently in development.”
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