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Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities. Hardcover – Bargain Price, 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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Top Customer Reviews
On a side note... while My daughter absolutely loves to read, I think it would be great for a child that may not find reading very exciting...this may just be the type of book that sparks their interest because its different, its not a heavy read and it gives kiddos choices!
On the slight downside, as is the case with many books of this type it doesn't really offer you the variety of choices it claims. The writer steers the reader towards a few key choices and there's really only a couple of stories in the book which limits the re-reading a bit. But it's still got more options than most stories where the reader is passively involved. My only other complaint would be that he doesn't give us more details on the computer algorithms he used to lay out the book pages but I don't think most readers will miss that as much ^__^
I haven't read, let alone bought, a comic or graphic novel since I was in junior high. That's quite a long time. But, I do listen to reviews of comics so I know some of the basics on what's out there. While watching one of said reviews, I saw this little gem. I was immediately intrigued when I heard "choose your own path," "time-travel," "entropy," and "alternate dimensions." How can a sci-fi fan resist?
So, I promptly picked this up, and I am so very glad I did. I've read through the adventure at least ten times, now. I still haven't gotten the single successful ending. I'm okay with that, I don't mind reading through again and again.
The (I want to call it a game, but...) book starts with a simple choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream, which quickly becomes the choice between total annihilation, mind reading, and time travel. Don't let those big concepts turn you away, though, as it is easy for anyone to understand.
The book is hardbound with plastic coated pages (you'll be turning them a lot as you read it over and over). The pages are not sequential. You don't start at page one and go to the end. From page one, you go to the back, then the middle, back, front, back, middle, etc. Each page has a couple different parts of the story on it, but when you read the part you are on, you follow a tube out to the edge of the page which then matches to a tab with the continuation of the tube on it. You flip to that page and continue following the tube to the part of the story you are on. If it sounds confusing, it is not.
You may think that your eyes will wonder and you will "read ahead" by seeing parts of the story that you are not currently on, but the book is laid out in such a manner that that won't happen. There are false pages and cells to keep you from doing just that. There are even "secret" codes within the story that you need to be able to follow certain paths, and the only way to get them is to follow the right path to them. You can't just happen to glimpse the code on a page that you were reading, as the book is set up to prevent that.
The work that went into creating this book must have been taxing, but I am glad they did. Pick this up and read it, you will love it.