Audiobook Review: TORO by Andrew Avner

Toro is the story of a cow who wants to run like a bull in Pamplona.

Author: Andrew Avner
Narrators: Brad Raider, George Spielvogel, Malili Dib, Yolanda Corrales, Leila Cohen, Andrew Avner
Length: 2 hours and 57 minutes
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Released: Jun. 26, 2020
Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Toro

A story that evokes beloved films such as Babe and Ratatouille.

Alicía Catalina Cortés is a fast and fiery Spanish cow who desperately wants to run with the bulls in Pamplona – but since she’s a cow, tradition forbids her to partake in the fiesta of San Fermín. Through her journey, Alicía learns that to be noble and brave, she must follow her dream and her heart, even if it means defying tradition.

Toro is set in the colorful backdrop of Pamplona, Spain during the fiesta of San Fermín and the running of the bulls, famed as one of the most exhilarating, dangerous, and spectacular events around the world.

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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Andrew Avner. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

When I started listening to Toro, I wondered what I was getting myself into because I felt like bullfighting was being glorified, and it’s such a horrible way for bulls to die. I decided to give the book a chance, though, and I was glad I did.

Alicía has a dream: she wants to run with the bulls in Pamplona. Diego also has a dream. Even though the bulls in his family have traditionally run in Pamplona, he has no desire to do that. He wants to be in the rodeo in America. The two of them work together to try to make their dreams come true.

Toro teaches that you should reach for your dreams no matter what others think or say about them. It teaches about lies and the guilt and lack of trust that go along with them. The bulls and Alicía also learn that they haven’t been told the whole truth about running in Pamplona, that there are dire consequences for being the best.

I enjoyed listening to Toro, and I think middle grade readers would enjoy listening to it as well. There are a few sound effects, and the narrators do a great job. In fact, every time the cowboys spoke, I had to laugh, especially at the John Wayne impersonation. Those cowboys really tickled me!

Andrew Avner graduated with honors from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film and Television. After working in Manhattan with Academy Award-winning producer David Brown, Avner relocated to Los Angeles to develop his own original material. He’s currently writing and producing short films for The Walt Disney Company while penning his next novel.

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Narrator Bio

Brad Raider

Brad Raider is an actor, filmmaker, and meditation teacher living in Los Angeles. In addition to Toro, he’s voiced video games, cartoons, and industrials. His award-winning feature film, Kensho at the Bedfellow, is streaming free on Amazon Prime: https://amzn.to/345rhXD.

George Spielvogel

(Don Murciélago Cortés, Jesús de los Jabalíes, Montie, Junior, Slim, Santiago, The Veedor, The Ganadero, Gallito, Zurito, The President of the Bullring)

George Spielvogel, also known as MC Whack, has been performing for audiences since childhood. While still in his early teens, he starred in a touring children’s theatre group and went on to earn degrees from both the Meisner Studio and the Strasberg Institute at New York University. Spielvogel was the creative producer on the hit staged parody Point Break Live. He continues to produce independent content and work as a voice-over actor in Los Angeles.

Malili Dib

(Alicía Catalina Cortés)

Born in Puebla, Mexico, Malili Dib was discovered by producer Pedro Torres, who cast her in the popular television series Mujeres Asesinas. She soon went on to land a major recurring role in the Mexican version of Gossip Girl. After graduating with honors from the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City, Dib relocated to Los Angeles where she currently resides. Her film credits include Melancolía, co-starring Alessandra Rosaldo and Plutarco Haza, Your Iron Lady, co-starring Victoria del Rosal and Yul Bürkle, Valentina by up-and-coming director Jorge Xolalpa Jr., and The Restoration by award-winning Peruvian director Alonso Llosa.

Leila Cohen

(Condesa Maria Del Toro, Doña Madonna de Doñana)

Leila Cohen left Brazil when she was eighteen and bounced around the globe before settling down in Los Angeles. She received a degree in Performance and Visual Arts from Brighton University and went on to train at Central School of Speech in Drama in London and Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City. Cohen recently completed a Film and Television Screenwriting Comprehensive at UCLA and co-founded a production company with her sister, aptly named Cohen Sisters Productions.

Yolanda Corrales

(Young Alicía, Waitress from the Basque country, Rosalita)

Yolanda Corrales is a Spanish actress based in Los Angeles. Her career began as a professional dancer in the Royal Conservatory of Madrid. Eventually, she traveled to Mexico to work on acclaimed television series such as Juana Inés, José José: El Príncipe de la Canción, and Luis Miguel: The Series. Corrales has also performed in theatre and film and has appeared in more than one hundred commercials around the world.

Andrew Avner

(Diego Del Toro, Don Julián Hernández, Billy Ray, Municipal Veterinarian, El Miguel)

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