Elem. – Endlessly Ever After: Pick Your Path to Countless Fairy Tale Endings!

Snyder, Laurel. Endlessly Ever After: Pick Your Path to Countless Fairy Tale Endings! Chronicle Books, 2022. 978-1-452-14482-5. $18.99. 27 p. Grades K-3.

Illustrated by Dan Santat, this picture book is a choose-your-own adventure take on common fairy tale tropes. The whimsical and winding path of the multiple possible story combinations includes familiar characters like Red Riding Hood; Hansel and Gretel; Sleeping Beauty; Snow White; and a whole host of stock fairy tale creatures, settings, and conundrums. As the story progresses, the reader is presented with choices leading to different pages containing alternate plot turns and story twists which result in different story-line outcomes. Some choices result in a scary ending, some in a victorious ending, and some in a comical ending. Ultimately, the message is that we each make choices every day, and our choices determine the outcome of our stories. 

THOUGHTS: Witty and clever, this is an absolute must-have for elementary libraries. Will pair well with lessons on fairy tales, discussions about choices and consequences, and helping students to understand story structure. Santat’s illustrations are humorous, and the story-telling delightful – no matter which path is chosen.

Picture Book          Anne McKernan, Council Rock SD

MG – You Choose: Can You Escape?

You Choose: Can You Escape? Capstone Press, 2020. $24.49 ea. $97.96. set of 4. 112 p. Grades 3-7. 

Braun, Eric. Could You Escape Alcatraz? An Interactive Survival Adventure. 978-1-543-57392-3.
Doeden, Matt. Could You Escape the Paris Catacombs? An Interactive Survival Adventure. 978-1-543-57394-7.
Hoena, Blake. Could You Escape a Deserted Island? An Interactive Survival Adventure. 978-1-543-57395-4.
—. Could You Escape the Tower of London? An Interactive Survival Adventure. 978-1-543-57393-0.

Reminiscent of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” series from the early 80s, this series takes you on a survivalist journey to various locations. Each book in the series offers 3 paths with 41 different choices and 18 possible endings. This reviewer had the opportunity to choose a path through the Paris Catacombs, 100 feet below the cities of Paris. The path started with a choice to explore the catacombs as a young worker in the 1700s, a modern-day tourist, or as a rescuer of a group of teens lost in the labyrinth. Written for younger adventurers, this is an enjoyable book for grades 3-7 as you get to choose your own destiny during your journey. Filled with photographs of the actual catacombs and artists renderings of Paris, this adventure series is sure to delight students.

THOUGHTS: This is a great modernized version of the “Choose Your Own Adventure” books that many of us grew up with that will delight this generation of readers. A great read for reluctant readers since the text is not overwhelming and the chance to read the book several times to create new endings will entice them to read more.

Action/Adventure                Jillian Gasper, Northwestern Lehigh SD

We’re Back…Time for some 2017! Elementary/MS Series Fiction – You Choose; Sleuths of Somerville; Dark Waters

You Choose: Haunted Places. Capstone, 2017. 112pp. $23.99 ea. Gr. 3-7.

Chandler, Matt. Alcatraz. 978-1-5157-2580-0.

Doeden, Matt. The Queen Mary. 978-1-5157-2578-7.

Alcatraz contains 42 choices and 15 endings while The Queen Mary contains 33 choices and 14 endings. The other books in this set are Tower of London and The Winchester Mystery House. A reading of Alcatraz may find readers wanting to learn more about The Warden’s House, “Machine Gun” Kelly, Al Capone, Robert Stroud, “The Birdman,” escape attempts, and tourism of the island.  Topics including the roles in history that boats played, the reported hauntings, and various locations on a ship can be obtained in readings of The Queen Mary.  Throughout the books, primary source photographs and diagrams are included. The epilogue details the locations and significances in history. Following the epilogue readers have a  detailed timeline, a glossary questions to explore, suggestions to read more and Facthound information to continue researching the topic.  THOUGHTS: At our library we already have numerous books from the You Choose series. Students enjoy these books and often ask if there is a reading test to go along the book. Since there are multiple choices and/or possible ending possibilities, I ask the students how the test questions would be answered. They understand the unique reading experience in these books is highly engaging, but not best measured with a test.

Action/Adventure      Beth McGuire, Hempfield Area School District


Jakubowski,Michele. The Sleuths of Somerville. Stone Arch, 2017. 978-1-4965-3207-7. 144pp. $18.99 ea. Gr. 4-6.

Mick’s Buried Treasure. 978-1-4965-3178-0.

Secrets in Somerville. 978-1-4965-3175-9.

These books are fast paced. In Secrets in Somerville, the main character children yearn for excitement one might experience in a large city.  Jace and Evie walk into the diner as new residents to Somerville and that is unexpected. Even more unusual is that they will be living in the old Potter house. Excitement builds when a resident’s dog, Rex, is missing. The novel Mick’s Buried Treasure begins in a hot September. The town has a resurgence of community pride after connection to Lincoln is unearthed. When the friends overhear the kindness of Mick and his buried treasure, they are off on a quest to solve the mystery first placing clues together.  Jace is going to learn more about his family and the strength of friends.  THOUGHTS:  Mystery fans will gravitate towards this fast paced series. The books contain a glossary in addition to questions for discussion and writing, which can also be used as a teaching tool.

Mystery     Beth McGuire, Hempfield Area School District


Gilbert, Julie. Dark Waters: Into the Storm A Mermaid’s Journey. Stone Arch, 2017. 978-1-4965-4171-0. $25.99. 155pp. Gr. 5-8.

India Finch didn’t know about her “mer” heritage until spending the summer with her grandfather. Growing up biracial has been difficult for India, but this new information is still difficult for her to process. With the threat of a hurricane, India wants to warn the mer. The Pizza Plus worker is actually the sea witch who has a past with India’s father. While warning the mer of the plan of the sea witch, India saves Evan, her crush, underwater with CPR. There is an epic battle.What happened with her father all of those years ago?  This book also contains full colored artwork, a glossary, and discussion and writing questions. There are currently three other books in the series: Fire and Ice: A Mermaid’s Journey, Neptune’s Trident: A Mermaid’s Journey, and The Sighting: A Mermaid’s Journey.  THOUGHTS:  Currently there are three other books in the series: Fire and Ice: A Mermaid’s Journey, Neptune’s Trident: A Mermaid’s Journey, and The Sighting: A Mermaid’s Journey. Dark Waters is ideal for students that enjoy Donnelly’s Deep Blue series and  Tera Lynn Childs Forgive My Fins.

Fantasy, Action/Adventure     Beth McGuire, Hempfield Area School District

Up2U Adventure – The Substitutes


Lay, Kathryn.  The Substitutes (Up2U Adventure).  Minneapolis, MN:  ABDO, 2015.  978-1-62402-095-7.  79p.  $18.95.  Gr. 3-5.

Josh and Jenny’s school is crawling with substitute teachers, and they are unsure where all their classroom teachers have gone.  One day they return from lunch, only to find another new substitute in their classroom.  They decide they must get to the bottom of this before these substitutes take over their school.

Adventure; Choose-Your-Own-Adventure      Anastasia Hanneken, School Lane Charter School

Students will enjoy this adventure story.  The story is fast paced and readers are able to choose their own adventure or path for the story.  Place this in the hands of your reluctant readers.