What do you remember reading as a kid? Did you have a favorite book? We're not talking about the bedtime stories mom and dad read to you ad naseum as they watched your eyes get heavy with fatigue each night. No, we're talking about chapter books. Were you a Judy Blume (Tales of 4th Grade Nothing) or Beverly Cleary (Ramona and Beezus) kid? Maybe The Hardy Boys was more your style? Was The Baby-sitter's Club your guilty pleasure? It's okay to admit it. They were great books! And, yes, reading MAD magazine counts. Good old Alfred E. Neuman was always good for a smile. So, what was your "go to story line" during those all important and admittedly sometime awkward formative years of adolescence?
For those of us known as "Generation X" who came of age during the 1980s when Rubik's Cube, parachute pants, Knight Rider and The Dukes of Hazzard reigned on high, you might recall the very popular Choose Your Own Adventure series. Did you own one or more of these cool titles? There were a ton of them. Every few pages, you, the reader would be faced with what could ultimately become a destiny-changing decision...do you go into the jungle with the mad scientist? If so, turn to page 83. Or, you might decide to board the train and follow the mysterious woman wearing the red jacket? Then, you'll want to turn to page 114. You were the main character and you were in charge. Each page turn led you through twists and turns in the plot. Turns out, these books were actually encouraging you to continue reading all the while building vocabulary and comprehension skills. Not to mention decision making and critical thinking skills. Pretty nifty, huh? We like to call it "Accidental Learning" here at Fat Brain Toys.
Well, as luck would have it, a few years back the Choose Your Own Adventure Books came back into circulation. We were thrilled! This throwback from the 1980s was welcomed with open arms at Fat Brain Toys. Several Fat Brainers fondly remember devouring the words and stories printed on the pages of these books. We also remember that famous "warning" that came with each book:
"Do not read this book from beginning to end. These pages contain many different adventures that you may have to face (insert who you are pretending to be based on the story's plot here) From time to time as you read along, you will be asked to make a choice.Your choice may lead to success or disaster." "The adventures you have are the results of your choices. You are responsible because you choose! After you make a choice, follow the instructions to see what happens to you next"
"Thank carefully before you make a decision."
This warning is printed within the pages of all Choose Your Own Adventure books. Realistically, it should be given to children regarding their lives. Beginning in 1979, with the advent of Choose Your Own Adventure, children were able to participate in great adventures in which they made the critical choices leading to the ending of the book. These books led to a level of engagement in ways few other books have ever reached. This engagement is what has driven the success of the book, and the reason Fat Brain Toys believes these books are poised to make a big comeback.