“ Publisher: Templar Publishing / Published: 1 Sep 2005 „
My children love books where they choose the ending. I'm sure most of you are familiar with these. I first remember seeing them in the Goosebumps series many years ago, but the idea has really taken off now. The way it works is that the child will come to a series of questions, each answer directing them to a different page - and a different outcome to the story. Usually there are several ways to die, and only one to survive your adventure, and this series is no different. What does make it different id that there are only 40 pages, and it is easy enough to finish the book in 30 minutes in most cases. This makes it a bit too short for older readers, but just perfect as a bedtime story for a young child.
This is part of the Dragonology Pocket Adventures series. There are a total of four books, The Iceland Wyrm. The Winged Serpent, The Dragon Dance and Dragon Star. Each book is only 4.5" square, but they do have a lovely fake leather cover and a small coloured jewel in each cover. This goes very well with 'Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons', which has two reviews here. Each book does have mild violence - your character may be frozen, cooked, smashed or eaten in this book alone, but you can always go back and start over for a happier ending. The pictures are all black and white and quite small.
In this particular book, your character journeys to Iceland to help a Frost Dragon. I like the fact that these books include maps and details of the country being visited, such as capital city so the children learn just a tiny bit of geography as they go read through the series. Your mission is find out what has caused
frost dragon, or Iceland wyrm to go on the rampage. It doesn't take you long to discover what has caused this animal to begin attacking people. Thieves have stolen one of the dragons eggs. In order to pacify the dragon you must get the egg safely back to its mother. The problem is, while intelligent and not needlessly violent, dragons are still wild animals, and this is an animal whose den and young have been endangered. The dragon won't be the only danger. There are evil egg thieves to deal with as well, not to mention the fact that the dragons den is inside an active volcano. Can you earn the dragon's trust and save the egg? Or will the dragon mistake you for another thief and destroy you?
These books were bought for my youngest child, age four. My eight year did enjoy them as well, although they are quite short for a child his age. I would happily recommend this series for children ages 4 - 7, but I would not recommend for new or struggling readers to read alone. The print is fairly small, and it is printed over a parchment which has lightly printed designs and illustrations under the text. These designs are light enough that neither my oldest son nor myself had any difficulty, but this is meant to make reading more difficult for children with dyslexia, and I feel trying to read over pattern makes things more confusing for nay new reader. I feel these are best as read aloud books, so I am not rating down for this reason. My youngest says he especially likes these books because he likes to choose what happens, and he doesn't end up dead too many times. Many of the choose you own ending books can take a few days to finish, and it can become frustrated for a young child to keep having to go back to another point and try again. He also really likes the jewel even though it is just a bit of glass, and he likes that the hero is helping rather than fighting the dragons. My eight year old on the other hand says the books are fun but too short. He enjoyed them, and they are very inexpensive. I bought this for £1.56 used but as new from Amazon including postage, and there are still copies at this price. But I do feel a longer book would better suit an older reader, unless they are a collector of the Dragonology books.