Pick-a-path books for the new age

Last updated 05:00 09/01/2014

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I have just read two interactive children's adventure books that take me back to my youth.

Remember those "choose your own adventure" or "pick-a-path" books where at the end of each chapter you can choose the direction the story will take?

Wellington author DM Potter has brought the concept into the present, and it's all done with the touch of a button.

The first book I read was Once Upon an Island, set on Arapawa Island in the Marlborough Sounds.

Because of the choices I made, I sailed with Captain James Cook, got kidnapped by poachers and, by making a decision that was less than clever, was eaten by a giant squid.

There are several paths you can take, and each leads to a different adventure.

The book has been written with different types of reader in mind, rather like the makers of Shrek, who knew they would have parents in the cinema as well as children.

There are plenty of references that adults will understand, while children will enjoy the book for the adventure it takes them on.

For instance, when you go back in time and meet Cook, you travel with a young boy named Nick, who chooses to stay in that time. You have the option of staying with him.

The second book was In the Magician's House, where I took a journey through a house unlike any other - a house where rooms changed.

The author offers a wonderful world to explore. Your first task is to find your way to the kitchen for breakfast, but the rooms keep moving around.

My favourite scene was the magician's ballroom, where I became part of the parquet floor and got trapped in an enchanted forest.

Just like Once Upon an Island, this book contains nuances that an adult reader will pick up but are not spelt out for children.

Anything that gets youngsters reading is great.

I think this sort of interactive fiction will appeal to readers brought up in the computer generation and to reluctant readers because they can play a fun part in the narrative.

These books will teach young readers that decisions have consequences.

I had fun trying out all the possible paths these stories take, and even though silly choices landed me in trouble, I couldn't resist being eaten by a giant squid once or twice.

You can read the interactive books on a Kindle or on a Kindle application that can be downloaded on to another device. 

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