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Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities. (Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens) Hardcover – March 1, 2010
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From School Library Journal
Grade 4–6—Shiga introduces readers to a whole new technique of reading comics. Jimmy must decide if he wants chocolate or vanilla ice cream. That's the first choice readers face in order to determine the fate of the world in this "Choose Your Own Adventure" style graphic novel. Rather than reading panels left to right, color-coded tubelike lines send children in the direction the panels should be read, from right to left/left to right, up to down/down to up, and flipping backwards to pages rather than going forward. Tabs on the edge of the pages help move the tubes along, directing readers to which page to read next. If a tube splits into two paths from a panel, readers then must choose which scenario to follow. Illustrations are drawn in ink, with color overlay. The text is clearly written by hand and will be easily deciphered by readers. Seasoned graphic-novel fans will be entertained by selecting scenarios throughout this action-packed book while developing problem-solving skills. Thousands of story possibilities will guarantee them a different experience each time they pick up this book. However, some readers may have to run their finger along the tube lines to keep track of their place in the story's path, as some of them can be quite long or zigzagged.—Janet Weber, Tigard Public Library, OR
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* In this graphic-novel mind boggler, Shiga blows the choose-your-own-adventure concept out of the water. Readers play the role of little Jimmy and on the first page make the seemingly innocuous decision of ordering a vanilla or chocolate ice-cream cone. Tubes connect panels in all directions and veer off into tabs to other pages, creating a head-spinningly tangled web of a story (well, stories; the book claims to have 3,856 different possibilities). The crux is that Jimmy stumbles into the lab of an affable mad scientist and is allowed to tinker with three inventions: a mind reader, a time machine, and the Killitron, which obliterates all life on earth aside from the user’s. Jimmy’s carefree fiddling with the three devices isn’t merely a way to lead readers through the subsequent head trip of an adventure; it’s also just about the perfect kid-friendly initiation to the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics (no, really), in which each decision and action split reality into distinct parallel universes. It’s unfathomably, almost unreasonably complex. Given this book and a distraction-free hour or two, readers will either end up looking like Jimmy on the cover—clutching their skulls in googly-eyed exasperation—or will arrive at a nifty new way of looking at reality. It’s maddening and challenging, all right, but that’s precisely what makes it so crazy fun. Grades 4-9. --Ian Chipman
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Sorry - i thought it would be a good fit but the color codes are too similar and confusing... don't like it at all...refund???
Like another reviewer, I ended up using a bunch of post-it tags to remember where I'd been before; you need some kind of bread-crumb-trail (or a really excellent memory) to make it through.
Once you've gone down all the various paths (not before!), it's also fun to start over from the beginning and just go through it page-by-page, search for otherwise-unreachable Easter eggs, and gain more appreciation for how cleverly it all fits together.
Anyone should be able to find their way through in a few hours with a little persistence, and I found the story interesting and even moving.
The book is also really nice as a physical object--beautifully printed, on glossy plastic-like paper that holds up well to all the flipping back and forth that's required.
I've never seen anything quite like it!