By Alison Hart
Illustrated by Arcana Studios
The enticement for 2nd grade readers begins with the title: it invites you to dive right in, to a story with many alternate endings.
So you do, and discover that you have become the main character, a girl who is an accomplished diver. You have worked hard to perfect your diving skills and are now number two on the team.
The story opens to a practice session. You are practicing a “back dive straight” for the upcoming competition. Your BFF Megan walks in. You are surprised to see her, she is a gymnast not a diver, but happy nonetheless that she wants to join the diving team.
Megan’s gymnastic capabilities hold her in good stead on the diving board. Soon her diving skills outshine yours. How will you react? This is where the book comes into its own. Much as in real life it offers you different choices, and each choice takes you to a different conclusion.
Will you choose to be happy at your friend’s success or jealous? If you are happy what will you do? If jealousy besieges you how do you act? Even within the two choices there are many pathways you can take. The author has done a great job of tracking each path to its logical conclusion, and yet it is simply written for ease of comprehension.
Young readers will enjoy the book for the freedom it allows them to create their own story. At the decision points the book tells them: if you want to do this go to page….or if you want to do this go to page….
They follow one path, come to the end, but the book is not done yet. There is another path, and yet another–an almost endless source of entertainment. You can imagine their joy in knowing that there is still another story to be read, in discussing with their friends what path to take. Reading becomes a socializing experience.
The book is part of the Innerstar University series published by American Girls, a series of interactive books that would be a good addition to any second grade reading list.