A Surprise Find
By Erin Falligan
Illustrated by Thu Thai/Arcana Studios
The reader becomes the main character in this and other titles in the “Innerstar U” series from American Girl. The stories are interactive and the reader chooses which storyline to follow. In A Surprise Find, “you” are asked to participate in a clothing drive and you are having difficulty filling a box of things to donate. Suddenly, a prized bracelet goes missing and the search is on. Each choice you make introduces a different set of characters, a different complication and resolution.
While the number of stories that come out of this staging is impressive, some strain credibility. Some are downright preachy. Not all choices are good and the intent is to show the consequences of less desirable decisions, but some concluding paragraphs often add a value laden statement that seemed unnecessary. The consequence should be enough. Even with this drawback, exploring different scenarios is appealing to young readers and they will be engaged in trying all of them out. The “character counts” aspect will be easily understood and appreciated by second and third-graders. Because of the interactive nature of this book, it would be great for a “reading buddy” read-aloud between the grades.
The series website (www.innerstarU.com) is colorful and kid-friendly. It offers even more endings, games and reading activities. There is a code required to get into the site which can be found on the paperback editions of the series or on the dolls. You can access some of the extra activities on the American Girl website without a code by going to http://www.americangirlpublishing.com.