By Drew Callander and Alana Harrison
Art by Ryan Andrews and You
Published on November 5, 2019
Another fun book where ‘you’ are part of the story. Includes fill-in the blank stories, places to draw, and another 6-page maze. I really, really love these mazes.
The second book set in Astorya places you back in the driver’s seat. You’re a real human being (we assume), and in this fictional world, that makes you a superhero. Armed with your trusty pencil, you have the power to create. What you write, draw, or scribble in the book becomes part of the story!
You must journey to Astorya’s Other Side, a place of monsters and mayhem, to hide the Original original forever. Surely nothing bad could happen to Astorya’s precious document there, right? But when the plan goes awry and digital doppelgangers are unleashed on the world, once again only you can save the day.
Write, draw, and puzzle your way through a hilarious adventure story that is unique to every reader! And, most importantly, prove that the pencil is mightier than the sword.
The Edge of the Word picks up about an hour after the first book in the series, Mightier than the Sword, ends. At the end of the first book, we left off with ‘you’ erasing Queen Rulette’s story to keep the villainess from erasing all the other stories in Astorya. After all, she did erase one of your closest friends – Manteau, a stoat who speaks some of his phrases in French. Now that Prince S. and the gang are all ok, the group realizes that the original Original story needs to be protected. Two problems arise. 1) There is a big erasure section where no one can safely enter and 2) where can you safely hide the original Original?
The first problem is solved when you write over the erased section and draw Castle Doodling, which becomes a new home for all those doodles that are done on the edge of the pages. You know – hangman, hearts, tic tac toe, peace signs – all done at the other side of the Red Line on a piece of paper. To say they are overjoyed with their own home is an understatement.
The second problem is solved when they decide the best place to store the Original is on the Other Side of the paper. The side that is completely dark and apparently full of monsters and villains. The question then becomes how to get there. Prince S. tells everyone that he has this one under control because he solved this years before when he proved that the world was not round, but instead flat. He knows the way and guides, as best as his forgetful memory can, the gang to the other side.
The book, like the previous one, provides lots of opportunities to engage the reader. For example, there is a fill-in-the blank section for the monster disguise you will be wearing when you go to the Other Side, plus a place where you can actually draw what your monster will look like. In another chapter is a word puzzle (of sorts) of how to navigate the secret path and cross from one side of the page to the other. To be honest, I still haven’t quite figured this puzzle out, but it has been fun to try.
I am still surprised at how much the authors are able to write a story that actively happens to you, the reader. There is a section later in the book that is very creative and yet to hard to describe. You are faced with a dilemma regarding evil Prince S. and the S.Word and you are given a sort of ‘what if’ type scenario: ‘If You Fight’ and ‘If You Refuse to Fight.’ The ‘If You Fight’ titled pages are on the even numbered side, but the page is black with white text. While the ‘If You Refuse to Fight’ section is on the odd-numbered side, which are also your typical-looking pages, white with black text. One of these two stories eventually end, but the other then begins to switch back and forth for a little bit between black/white text and white/black text. It’s all very entertaining and inventive.
Overall, this is another enjoyable book in the series. My reading-nephew really likes these books and loves all the many footnotes the authors provide and thinks they are funny. Laugh out loud funny. But, what surprised me was how interested he was in knowing all the French phrases Manteau uses and would go to the end of the book to look them up.
Rating: 5 stars
Thanks to the author and Penguin Workshop for a copy of the book and the opportunity to provide an honest review.
Be sure to check out the other Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts, hosted by Greg Pattridge at Always in the Middle.