Choose your own adventure books were a hot commodity during the 1980s and 1990s. Millions of children enjoyed picking these books up and choosing the direction of the story. It made them feel like they were in control and increased the readability of the books. Although the did drop in popularity during the early 2000s, it would seem that these books have become popular once again. That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves to find the best ones available, so no child has to go without the feeling of directing their own story. We believe it’s something that really makes reading magical for the child.
Quick Summary of the Best Choose Your Own Adventure Books
- Best Overall
What Should Danny Do? (Amazon) – Review
- Best Children Mystery
Legend Of The Star Runner: A Timmi Tobbson Adventure (Amazon) – Review
- Best Children’s Fantasy
Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set (Amazon) – Review
- Best For Younger Children
Choose Your Own Adventure Your Very Own Robot (Amazon) – Review
- Best For Pre-Teens
The Magic Of The Unicorn-Choose Your Own Adventure (Amazon) – Review
- Also Consider (for Pre-Teens)
The Haunted House (Amazon) – Review
- Best Value
Ghost Island (Amazon) – Review
- Best Video-Game Based Book
Choose Your Own Minecraft Story: The Zombie Adventure (Amazon) – Review
- Best History-Based Book
The Oregon Trail (Amazon) – Review
Best Overall: What Should Danny Do?
As the title of this book alludes to, it’s a choose your own adventure that asks the very important question What Should Danny Do? This simple question allows the reader to turn this book into not just one story but 9-stories in 1. Who is Danny? Well, Danny is a superhero in training that is going about his day and has to face common obstacles that children have to face daily. As a decision is made for him, the story takes different storylines that have significant decisions for him. Probably the best thing about this book, however, is that after each decision Danny can reflect on each lesson from each decision.
This is a book that both boys and girls can enjoy, particularly children in the preschool to the 3-year old range. It’s also a book that parents can read with their children over and over again. And considering its price, this book is also a great value since it’s essentially nine different books in one. It was written by Adir & Ganit Levy and illustrated by Mat Sandler. The next time a parent is looking for quality choose your own adventure book, then they might want to grab this one and read it with their child. It’s a wonderful way for children to experience this book genre and helps to open a whole world of possibilities for them.
Best Children Mystery: Legend Of The Star Runner: A Timmi Tobbson Adventure
One of the things that we’d like to address about this book before we begin this review is that it’s more of a solve your own mystery than follow your own adventure. In this book, readers will find thirty-one chapters in it that each has a puzzle that has to be solved for the story to progress. This format is designed to hook children into the story the same way that a video game does by rewarding their decisions. This technique, along with its colorful visual format, makes this a great book for children around the age of 8 to 9 years old. Sure, younger children can also enjoy this book, but parents might have to help them with the puzzles.
Now that we’ve covered the story and the format of this book, we’d like to address a little bit of a controversy about this book. Some parents don’t feel like the language is suitable for children. This is mainly due to one of the adult characters using Jesus in anger. This may not only offend religious people who may see it as sacrilegious, but it might also offend non-religious parents who view the language as too strong for a child’s book. Of course, it’s up to the individual parents to decide what is right for their household and their children, but if parents do decide to read this story, they can rest assured that it’s quite entertaining.
Best Children’s Fantasy: Choose Your Own Adventure Box Set
This boxed set of classic children’s choose your own story books contain not just one book but four different books. The books that can be found in this set include the Abominable Snowman—a mountaineering adventure that allows the child to lead the search for the mythic Yeti snowman. It allows them to explore the Himalaya Mountains and Kathmandu, face difficult winter weather, deal with smugglers and follow the mysterious footprints that they find that lead them right to Yeti. Another book that’s found in this set is Journey Under The Sea—an adventure that allows the child to search for the city of Atlantis. They can explore the oceans, escape sharks and squid attacks, discover shipwrecks and even help merpeople.
The third book that can be found in this boxed set is Space & Beyond—a story where the child can travel through time, explore black holes and interstellar objects and even engage with alien life. And the last book found in this boxed set is the Lost Jewels of Nabooti. This adventure makes the children the star of some international intrigue. In this adventure, they must recover stolen jewels, engage in high-speed chases, face hijackers, and even deal with curses. All of these books are designed for children age 9-12 years old and should provide hours of fun. If there’s one thing that we didn’t like about this set, it was the fact that the binding on these books isn’t as durable as we would’ve liked.
Best For Younger Children: Choose Your Own Adventure Your Very Own Robot
The premise of this book is very simple but provides enough intrigue to get any 6 to 7-year old child into the story. The reader becomes the child of scientists who has thrown out some robotic parts that they no longer needed in the trash. The reader then has to find the pieces to the robot so they can put it together. Once the robot is together, however, the child has another problem. They have to control it otherwise it might take over their school! With this premise, the child can become the author of their own story and lead their character to the right (or wrong) decisions.
This book is written by R.A. Montgomery, an author who’s known for a variety of books including The Haunted House, Lost Dog!, Journey Under The Sea, Lost On The Amazon, The Abominable Snowman, Trouble on Planet Earth, Prisoner Of The Ant People, and many, many other books. This interactive adventure might not be suitable for children much older than 7 or 8-years old, but for children in this age range, it’s a jewel that will keep them engaged. And because of its interactive nature, this book is not only great for parents to buy for their own children, but it’s also a great gift for their friends and family members who have children in the suitable age range.
Best For Pre-Teens: The Magic Of The Unicorn-Choose Your Own Adventure
The Magic Of The Unicorn is a choose your own adventure book that starts with an ominous warning. A warning that states that the reader is alone in determining the fate of their character. That their decisions could lead their characters to eminent danger, maybe even death. However, it ends that stern warning with a bit of an affirmation that the reader can always go back and make a different choice that leads the story in a different direction. That is, in essence, the heart of the choose your own story, and this handles the choices and the consequences very well. And this makes it a great book for 9 to 12-year-old readers.
This book is written by Deborah Lerme Goodman, the author of such great books as The Throne Of Zeus, The Trumpet Of Terror, and You See The Future. It’s also illustrated by Suzanne Nugent and Marco Cannella, who together do a good job with the material. This is a book about exploring the lands of 1507 Flanders. As the readers explore, they will be saving beautiful Duchesses, running into fearful warlocks, and much, much more. Although many of its 27 endings are very bleak, which may not be suitable for all children, it’s overall a very good book.
Also Consider (for Pre-Teens): The Haunted House
This book is written by R.A Montgomery, an author who is well known for his interactive books. He started with Journey Under The Sea, which he did in 1976, and that was published under the name of Adventures Of You. Later on, Bantam Books would buy it and give Montgomery a contract for five more of these interactive books. After Bantam took it over, they would rename it as Choose Your Own Adventure, and it would become extremely successful. These series of books have sold more than 260 million copies in over forty different languages. Although he died in 2014, this book lives on.
And let us say that this book is quite exciting and is perfect for 6 to 8-year-old readers. Although some of the endings can be a bit anticlimactic, the books are otherwise exciting and well written. This book takes the reader on an adventure through an old house, so they can search for their best friend: their dog. In this book, the reader will uncover a variety of different mysteries including running into a talking turtle or crying crocodile, discovering a hidden movie theater, and even riding a magical unicorn. All of this makes this not only a great book for children to read on their own, but also a great book for parents to read with their children.
Best Value: Ghost Island
This book is written by Shannon Gilligan, an author, and a game designer. It’s also illustrated by Keith Newton. Together, they have crafted a book that’s very nice for 6 to 8-year old readers, although some people may complain that it’s a bit too short. It puts the reader into the driver seat of a story that’s filled with adventure and fun. In this story, the reader is vacationing with their family and two of their friends in the Caribbean, when they stop on the island of Antigua. On this island, some children tell that that the island is haunted by a ghost and that they’re going to spy on this ghost as soon as the sun goes down.
The central premise sets up the rest of the story as the reader makes a series of decisions that determine their fate. Should the reader go with these children, or should they search for the ghost themselves? Are they even brave enough to face such an entity? All of these questions, and others, will determine how the rest of the story goes. Overall, we liked this adventure and think that not only are children going to love reading it themselves, but parents and children are probably going to love reading it together. This book also makes a good gift for any child who likes to read and appreciates a good ghost story.
Best Video-Game Based Book: Choose Your Own Minecraft Story: The Zombie Adventure
Any child who plays and loves the game Minecraft may want to read this book. In this story, the reader wakes up as a zombie in the game of Minecraft. This sets up a variety of possibilities for the reader as they determine if they are going to try to get home or if they are going to stay around and scare the players in the game. In this book, the reader will also get to discover the secrets of the Minecraft world, and make decisions as to how they’re going to interact with the mobs or the players in the world. This book is designed for children 8-years old and older and is an exciting thrill ride from start to finish.
Best History-Based Book: The Oregon Trail
We think that this is less a choose your own storybook and more of a choose your own history book. Sure, it uses the Choose Your Own Adventure book format, but it also has a definitive historical slant. The reader is capable of following three fictional characters through the trials and tribulations of the Oregon Trail. As they guide a wagon train they face several challenges include interactions with Native Americans, food shortages, and being orphaned. They also face the promise of finding gold, so there is an upside as well. This is a great book for grades 3 to 6, and one that parents might want to introduce to their children. It’s also a book that isn’t very expensive but is kind of short.