I remember when _The Cave Of Time_ (buy it used) came out.

This was the first “Choose Your Own Adventure” book, to the best of my knowledge, and I had never experienced anything like it before (I mean, sure, I was a kid and didn’t exactly have a whole depth of experience but, seriously, this was mind-blowing). If anything was disappointing about the book, it’s that the various choices always struck me as… well, as choices that wouldn’t strike me. “The alien asks you to join him on his ship. If you go on the ship, turn to page 19. If you invite the alien home to meet your parents, turn to page 33”. Where is the *ATTACK* option???

Maybe that’s just me.

Anyway, there is a delightful update of this concept with a lovely book called _Meanwhile_. It’s appropriate for kids age 10ish… you know, old enough to read a Choose Your Own Adventure book where “you” die. Because, in this one? “You” die. A lot. I mean, a lot a lot. The book brags that there are 3856 story possibilities and you die in, like, 3855 of them. Sometimes you blow up the universe, sometimes you just blow up. It’s all lighthearted and cute and funny so it’s not likely to be nightmare fodder like some of the CYOA books ended up being (I remember this one where your plane¬†crashed on the side of a mountain and that one was *NO* fun at all).

The first couple of times through, the book can be confusing and you will probably want to help out¬†but by the third read-through, your kid will be an expert at it… not that you’ll stop reading along, of course. The book will be just as much fun for you. Seriously, this one is a hoot.

So that’s my recommendation for you this week.


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com


  1. If you’re in the mood for gamebooks, I can highly recommend the Fabled Lands series (the first 4 of which just went into their second printing).

    Fabled Lands is a sandbox gamebook. Each book represents a geographical area and you could wander between them as you wished (provided you had the right books of course). There was no central plot, instead you started up washed up on some gods-forsaken beach and then explored this vast open world performing quests, levelling up and collecting loot in the finest RPG traditions. You could keep going until you died (without having made advance preparations for your resurrection) or were satisfied with your adventures.

    Unfortunately, in the first printing only the first 6 (of a planned 12) books were ever published. But the company doing the second printing is entertaining publishing books 7-12 if the reprints of books 1-6 do well enough.

  2. I had this one, as well as most of the ones listed along the bottom. Hmm…I bet I still have them, and I bet the boys would like them, too…

  3. I tried some CYOA books, but I was like Jaybird, I wanted the attack option and when they actually gave it to you, it was almost always the wrong choice. Drove me nuts.

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