Nikki and I hope you’ll join us today for Story Time with Literary Escapism, a bi-weekly feature where we showcase various children books that fall directly in the fantasy & science fiction genres, as well as books we’re enjoying with our young children. We’re talking boardbooks, picture books, those books labeled as beginner or newly independent readers, and middle grade – anything of interest to those readers who are not quite ready for the young adult genre. So we hope you’ll join us on the carpet as we share the stories that have captured our little ones imaginations.
Have you ever come across a book where you wish you could dictate what the character does? Should she go into the dark creepy forest or head back inside where there’s plenty of witnesses…err I mean people? Think about the book you’re reading right now. How many pages has it been since you yelled at the hero or heroine WTH…are you serious? I’m sure we’ve all been there and it’s times like these that I really miss those Choose Your Own Adventure books from the elementary library.
I had forgotten about that special type of book until the Monkey found one at the library. Not only was he intrigued enough by the idea to check it out, but he started reading more at home. He would read that book over and over, each time getting a completely different story. He said he liked that he could tell the character what to do. That the story changed each time.
Of course I did what, I’m sure, any parent does as soon as their child gets hooked on a book – I went out to look for more. And seriously, where have they all gone? Growing up, I remember racks of them in my school library, but now all the public library has is a small shelf of them. It wasn’t long before he lost interest in the Choose Your Own Adventure books, simply from a lack of variety. I even went on Amazon to see what I could find, and there wasn’t many. Don’t get me wrong, there are still quite a few for those in the upper grades, but not many for those who are just starting out. So for all those beginner readers out there, here’s a few of the Choose Your Own Adventures books I’ve found for the Monkey.
Batman: Super-Villains Strike by Michael Teitelbaum
Of course I went searching for a Batman one for my man. You have no idea how excited I was to find Batman: Super-Villains Strike, Superman: Peace in the Balance, and Wonder Woman: Power Outage. They’re out of print now (dammit!), but I was lucky enough to find multiple copies available via used book stores (Thank you Powells and Better World Books!).
Batman’s instincts tell him that Catwoman, The Riddler, Mr. Freeze, and Poison Ivy are all involved. But how could that be? They are all behind bars at Arkham Asylum. Batman knows these super-villains would never agree to work together…or would they?
Is a copycat criminal to blame? How could one person be in all these places at once? Follow the clues with Batman and then make your own choices for how the story will go. Can you help Batman solve this mystery? Will you be able to put the criminal—or criminals—behind bars and save Gotham City from chaos?
These DC Super Hero “interactive” stories will incorporate fabulous DC art along with puzzles and games to guide the reader through multiple outcomes of the story. The puzzles and games will appear at random chapter endings providing clues to help the reader decide where to go next. Familiar interactive elements, for readers otherwise absorbed with online games and other digital devices, these original concept books will add a new level of excitement and challenge for the reader
Your Very Own Robot Goes Cuckoo-Bananas by R. A. Montgomery
The Dragonlark series is another one with some pretty covers that really caught my eye while browsing the shelves at the library. The titles and stories caught the Monkey’s interest. I also like the fact that this series isn’t all science fiction/fantasy – Space Pup, Ghost Island, Search for the Dragon Queen, and The Lake Monster Mystery – but includes contemporary fiction as well – Lost Dog!, Monsters of the Deep, Always Picked Last, and Caravan.
This book is different than every book you’ve ever read.
Don’t believe me?
Have you ever read a book that’s about you? This book is!
YOU get to choose what happens next – and even how the story will end.
Your parents are inventors, and one day you rescued a robot that they didn’t want anymore from the trash. You had a lot of fun with him, but boy did he make things go crazy! Your parents weren’t too happy about your robot adventures, but you really miss your friend. Can you trust him to behave himself, or is he about to go cuckoo-bananas in front of all your friends?
Quest for the Dragon’s Treasure by Gerry Gaston
I never really found a Choose Your Own Adventure book with pretty drawings, but this Quest series – Quest for the Dragon’s Treasure, Quest for the Wizard’s Tower, Quest for the Lost Treasure, and Quest for the Pirate’s Treasure – has some pretty amazing illustrations. I mean, their fun, quirky and really sparked the imagination of my little man.
The King’s Crown has been lost for many years, taken by a fire breathing Red Dragon. Many have sought to recover it, but none have succeeded. Encouraged by the thrill of a challenging adventure, you set out to retrieve your Kingdom’s most valued treasure.
And so begins your Epic Journey …
The one thing I did learn from my search was that it’s not always a Choose Your Own Adventure. You can Choose Your Own Path or you can Choose Your Own Fate, or I even saw one called You Choose Stories (The Terror of the Bigfoot Beast by Laurie S Sutton and Scott Neely). So they are out there, somewhere. But if you have a beginner reader who hasn’t found his book preference yet, then try tracking some of these down. The one thing I’ve noticed at this age, is that the Monkey likes to make his own choices and loves it when he’s in a position where he can dictate what’s going to happen. These books are perfect for that and give him the control he wants, and I’m willing to let him have it this time. *grin*
Did you read the Choose Your Own Adventure books when you were growing up? Have you introduced them to your children yet? What books from your own youth have you tried introducing to your own children?