Books are amazing! We are big fans of books…but, sometimes, a book character does something that you wish they wouldn’t. Or, you might want more control over the characters but you just don’t have time to write your own book.
All of this can be avoided with a Choose Your Own… I remember reading these when I was a kid (I don’t want to say when that was but Goosebumps were new books and I devoured them).
‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ stories is a brand that started it all and was created by Edward Packard and that’s why most of the titles that fit into this genre of books are not actually called ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books. So for the purposes of this blog there are just going to be a set of ellipses and you can fill in as desired.
These types of books are currently making a resurgence and in addition to being lots of fun there are some education aspects to these books beyond the obvious reading is good!
Choose Your Own… books are often written in the second person (writing using the ‘you’ pronoun for the protagonist) which isn’t as common as the first person (I) or the third person (names, she, he, they, etc.). From a developmental standpoint reading skills develop before writing skills so reading books using the second person will help when children come to write in this style.
These books ask children to be immersed in the storyline in a way that most books don’t – the choices of the reader decide the outcome (and in some of the ones I read as a kid – the protagonists untimely demise).
But, on the flip side of the protagonist’s demise in the book is that fact that if you go back to the start you can read a completely different book and all it takes is changing one little choice.
In addition these books are easy to read making them ideal for children who might be reluctant readers.
The structure of a choose your own adventure is quite complex and Atlas Obscura has this interesting article about the visual structure of the books.
A Few Series…
Some of the original books are very bizarre but they are always a fun read. Edward Packard said he came up with the idea when telling his children a story and finding that he’d run out of adventures for the character and asked them for help. No matter what book in this genre, called gamebooks, you read there is always a variety of fun to be had.
We have a wide range of these books available and they pair the humour of the show with the ability to affect the ending. I love Scooby-Doo, and these are just as fun.
You Choose…(flip me! books)
Maze of Doom / The Haunting of Spook House by George Ivanoff
The Treasures of Dead Man’s Cover / Mayhem at Magic School by George Ivanoff
This book doesn’t just have one self-directed book but two so there are even more scary options to choose as you go along.
We even have a Choose Your Own Adventure DVD – The Abominable Snowman
Check out the full range of Choose Your Own… books here.