cover image Meanwhile: Pick a Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities

Meanwhile: Pick a Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities

Jason Shiga, . . Abrams/Amulet, $15.95 (80pp) ISBN 978-0-81098-423-3

A mathematician/cartoonist whose best works (Bookhunter ; Fleep ) play with form and logic, Shiga has created both an enchanting graphic novel and a delightful physical object. Building on the concept of the Choose Your Own Adventure books, Shiga allows readers to select among thousands of story lines. The first question is simple: “Chocolate or vanilla?” From there, readers follow thin tubes and tabs in circuitous paths throughout the book, dictated by their choices. Sometimes the story takes a reader right to left through panels on the page, sometimes up or down, and readers' decisions may have them skip forward or backward throughout the text. Plots include time machines, doomsday devices, quantum physics, and a giant squid. The charming, cartoony illustrations, bursting with color and energy, lend a wry counterpoint to the often disastrous outcomes of the many possible plots. In the electronic media era, it's refreshing to encounter a work that makes such unique use of the physical nature of the book. Young readers will likely spend hours finding new ways to wend a path through the pages of this innovative book. Ages 8–up. (Mar.)