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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Create Your Own Adventure

Someone recently asked me what my favourite children's book is. Tough question. It's been awhile.

After some careful consideration, it came to me and I said it.

"Choose Your Own Adventure Books".

Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) books were novels with several different endings dependent on how the reader "chose" the protagonist's decisions throughout the story. Ideally, I think the purpose was to make it to the natural end of the novel, to stay "in the book" as long as you could, but most people I know had a different purpose for Choosing Their Own Adventure.
See, the appeal of the CYOA book was that it gave control to the reader to choose how much he wanted to read. Don't wanna read much? Make a couple of bad decisions and voila! Last page. That's why I liked 'em. Quick read, now shut up and let me get back to Super Friends.

They were also a favourite (but always ostracized by teachers) for book reports. If I couldn't convince a teacher to allow me to read a novelization based on a movie (such as Return of the Jedi or Oh, Heavenly Dog!), then I'd often turn to an obscure CYOA book and hope the teacher didn't know the source.

But you had to be careful.

You had to choose your adventure carefully.

Pick something with a classic Swift-ian title, but without being Ed Wood-ian. You'd be dead if you went with something like "George Rides the Time Travelling Bubble Into Dimentia 9".
Too expansive sounding.

You can't have an expansive sounding title when your book report's essentially going to read:
George, an inventor, created a time-travelling bubble and one day tests it. It takes him to some strange world called Dimentia 9, where he lands in a swamp. He finds his bubble is stuck and decides to get help but can only go in 2 directions: along a golden paved road into a spring meadow. Or throught the murky swamp leading into the dark, ominous forest. George took the swamp, got eaten by a giant 3-eyed frog.

The End.