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ACTIONOPOLIS: When Adventure is Your Destination

A sort of review in which Scott sort of rambles and rants on about stuff until he gets tired of typing. Oh, and he also tells you what he thinks of the Actionopolis series of prose books.

Article by Scott Tingley,January 18, 2007

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Well, that stinks for me! Here's my problem. I'm sitting at my computer finally getting down to writing an article on the ACTIONOPOLIS line of prose novels (that's right, no word balloons and relatively few pictures) aimed at young teens when I find out that everyone else already likes them! I thought I was going to be the first to tell the world about these books, but no….everybody had to let the cat out of the bag.

See, I read this review of one of the books ( What I Did On My Hypergalactic Interstellar Summer Vacation ) a few months ago, and it was a….…lackluster review.

Jump ahead a couple of months and I have now had the good fortune to get my hands on a few of the books. However, since I started this site I have hardly had time to read a non-teaching related book that didn't have a whole lot of pictures, and I wasn't about to start now. So, I handed the books off to the grade 7-8 teacher at my school and asked her to put them on her reading shelf and let me know if the kids read the books. A couple weeks later I asked her about them and I found out that a few of the boys really liked them – some that usually like to read and some that don't. Well, it was time that I bit the bullet and actually read one of the books (I'll let you know how it went in a bit), and then I asked a couple of the boys what they thought of the Action opolis books. The word that kept coming up was….wait for it….. Action !

Q: Why did you like ___ book?
A: It was adventurous.

Q: Who would you recommend these books for?
A: Anyone that likes books with a lot of action.

They didn't exactly go on and on, but their feelings towards the books was clear.

This brings me back to my annoyance with everyone already liking these books. It really throws off the whole angle I had for the article—but, I will soldier on anyway. I had only read that one review (which I just spent 30min looking for in vain), and it said that the book was okay, but not much of a book. But, once I read one of them and talked to the kids that had read many of them, I realized that the reviewer had completely missed the point of the whole series (which is not really fair since I can't find the review to re-read it, but I have to work with what I have). The answer was printed on the back of each and every book this whole time: “Ages 8 and up” or : “Ages 9 and up” Wait a minute! These books look like they are for middle school kids, they deal with subject matter that is of interest to young teens (action-y stuff), and as far as I can tell, they are marketed to young teens. Now, I haven't taught in middle school for a bit, and I never taught in a regular middle school setting, but these guys have hit on the Holy Grail of books for teens: High Interest / Low Level books that struggling readers can be excited about reading, but not embarrassed about being seen with. Man, is that a hard thing to find.

Which one did I like best? Spirit of the Samurai . Lot of action, a fantasy plot with enough relatable elements (sibling rivalry being the main one) to keep it grounded, and it has a young female hero kicking but. Plus it had NINJAS! I love Ninja! The boys I talked to liked Blackfoot Braves Society – "Lots of action." – like I said, they kept their reviews kind of simple that way.

The great thing about these books is that no matter what genre the reader is interested in there is probably an Actionopolis book for them. Zombies?...Check. Ninja?....Check. Mummies?....Check. Outer Space and Aliens?....Check . Pirates?....um, not yet, but there are more to come.

To sum up, these series of books are well written, action packed novels. The publisher puts them at 8 and 9 years old and up, and I think they are perfect for pre-teens, younger teens, and reluctant middle and high school readers. They are beautifully bound and illustrated with a large selection of covers. I think they would be a big hit with the boys and girls (I feel more boys will like them, but there is something for everyone in the series) reluctant readers or not.

Go to actionopolis.com to get the complete list of books, and isbn #s. The books are $12.95(US) (Can $14.95) hardcover.

The people at Actionopolis tell me that their books are available through your favorite library wholesalers like Ingram, Follett, Baker & Taylor, etc.

And, for those wondering why I am talking about a bunch of novels on a comic site –Actionopolis is connected with KOMIKWERKS, an online and print comic publisher. Also, a lot of the novel writers and illustrators are comic professionals.



 

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