The School Library Journal recently reviewed Detective Frankenstein by Alaya Johnson and Yuko Ota, book 17 in the Twisted Journeys series. In addition to their review, they offered some history on the interactive genre known as gamebooks. this piqued my interest, so I went searching for more information.
Did you know there are three types of gamebooks: the branching-plot novel, the role-playing game solitaire adventure, and the adventure gamebook? The branching plot novel is usually written in the second person and requires the reader to make choices. Otherwise, it is similar to a typical novel. Twisted Journeys is an example of this kind of gamebook. To learn more, visit gamebooks.org.
Choose Your own Adventure books were first published out of Vermont in 1976, but they weren’t the first gamebook. In the late fifties interactive books were used as learning tools. These books could be used in the absence of a teacher by directed the student to certain pages depending on how they answered multiple choice questions (correct answers would direct the student to the next question, incorrect answers would direct them to review pages).
Here is a small portion of what the School Library Journal had to say about Detective Frankenstein:
“Johnson has provided over a dozen possible outcomes for the story, encouraging kids to re-read the book until they achieve their desired ending. For reluctant readers, the stories’ length and hybrid format may help overcome resistance to the idea of sitting down with a book for fun. Best of all, the stories are just spooky enough to engage the imagination, but not so gory or grim as to be genuinely upsetting. Recommended for readers in grades 2-5.”
Read the full review on Good Comics for Kids.