CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 5. . . .October 2, 2015
Resembling the 1980’s phenomenon of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, Lost in the Jungle of Doom situates the reader as the main character who is the only survivor of a plane crash in the Amazon rainforest. The reader must make decisions about how the story will unfold by choosing from two to three possible options at different junctures in the tale. To help the reader make these important choices, the book provides a number of important (and often life saving) facts about the Amazon rainforest.
When the reader’s decision results in an unfortunate end, the event is marked with skull and crossbones. At other times, the black and white illustrations provide a glimpse of various Amazon creatures mentioned throughout the story. There is a helpful list of contents at the beginning of the work that directs readers to significant Amazon facts that populate the book. There is also a glossary, a list of websites and print resources, brief real life survival stories, and an index.
Unlike a novel, this book is carefully crafted to allow the reader some degree of control over the story. This has the effect of “stunting” plot and character development. Despite the multiple endings, a few more positive outcomes would enrich the book and keep readers engaged for further reads. Nevertheless, the format may be particularly compelling to reluctant readers and/or those who enjoy information books. The book can involve multiple readings because of the varying plot decisions, and children can pick and choose readings of various survival and rainforest facts.
A light, entertaining read for any child interested in survival themed books with the added twist of choosing how the story unfolds. The book’s unique characteristics will make it appealing to specific audiences.
Christina Neigel is Associate Professor in Library and Information Technology at the University of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, BC.
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