Thursday, September 29, 2016

Poptropica: Mystery of the Map by Jack Chabert, illustrated by Kory Merritt

Three kids are on a hot-air balloon tour...which suddenly gets a lot more exciting than they expected! Suddenly, their guide is flying them straight into a storm and the next thing they know they're on an island. But it's not just an ordinary island - there are a lot of strange things, not even counting the dodos. Like the Vikings. Lots and lots of Vikings. It will take all their skills (and a lot of snarky humor) to escape the various villains and get started on the adventure of a lifetime!

Poptropica is a kid-friendly gaming website where kids explore different islands and play games, hunt treasure, and follow various stories. You can play it for free and also purchase a membership that opens up additional islands and other perks. It's considered safe as the kids interact only through scripts and are unable to exchange personal information.

The online world is expanding into graphic novels which introduce three characters, Mya, Jorge, and Oliver, stranded in the islands of Poptropica. This first title sets up some information for the story - the islands, the map, the villains. It's funny and intriguing, even if you don't know any of the back story of Poptropica, and includes some diversity - despite the cover image, Oliver is not the central character, all three share roughly equal time.

Verdict: Brisk action, tidbits of historical information, cartoon-style illustrations, and a tie-in to a popular game - this has everything it needs to fly off the shelves.

ISBN: 9781419720673; Published 2016 by Amulet/Abrams; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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