Sunday, February 13, 2011

Meanwhile: Pick any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities, by Jason Shiga

I have been getting quite a few requests in the library for Choose Your Own Adventures these days.  The requests are coming from both the younger and the older set, which is pretty interesting to me.  One of the bolder of these that I am giving to the older kids is Meanwhile, by Jason Shiga.

Chocolate or Vanilla?  This choice will sets off an adventure involving quantum physics, inventions, and entropy among other things.  Our young ice cream fan needs a bathroom, and finds one in a lab where he gets the privilege of testing out some inventions (which ones are entirely up to you!). 

Differing from the typical Choose Your Own Adventure, this is in no way a linear journey.  Readers get to the next segment of the story by following a series of pipes up, down, back and forth and occasionally through a tangled up maze to get to the next segment of the story.

Now, I in no way made it through all 3856 options, but you know what?  I know *several* kids who will take the time and the renewals that it will take in order to do it!  Shiga has a gift for making the uber scientific concepts accessible to kids (and adults) who may not know what things like entropy really mean coming into Meanwhile.

The format is great.  Laminated pages will hold up to all of the back and forth that the pages need to have to make the story work, and the explanation of how the book works is very clear.  This is a great book to gift to someone as they will return to it again and again, even if they only have "10 minutes" to get some reading in.  Meanwhile was recently listed in YALSA's Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens, and I will extend the category to include the tweens as well!


leslie said...

i had seen this, but thanks to your review picked up.. the husband, daughter and i all enjoyed tracing our way to often disastrous outcomes. the paths are funny and addictive.

thanks for the post


Mary Ann Scheuer said...

I loved this, and just love walking students through it. My one frustration is that our copy is getting really beaten up. The corners of the hard cover are not sturdy. Are you having problems with your copy? It could be that this is checked out by different kids week after week...