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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that DanTDM: Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal is a kid-friendly graphic novel by Minecraft-playing YouTube celebrity DanTDM (also known by his YouTube handle, the Diamond Minecart, and his real name, Daniel Middleton). The story riffs off DanTDM's popular Minecraft videos, featuring his character Dr. Trayaurus and his rival, Denton, who wants to take over the world. DanTDM is one of the most kid-friendly YouTubers, and his book steers clear of any possibly offensive content. There's a touch of cartoon violence. Readers unfamiliar with DanTDM's videos may want to check out his YouTube channel.
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What's the story?
In DANTDM: TRAYAURUS AND THE ENCHANTED CRYSTAL, Dr. Trayaurus and his loyal assistant, Dan, discover a crystal shard capable of powering their entire lab. They soon realize it's just one of several pieces that broke off as the crystal crashed to Earth -- a group of pigs found a tiny piece and discovered it can give them the power of speech. Trayaurus' nemesis, Denton, also finds another shard and is greedy for more: He wants to harness the crystal's power to build an unstoppable clone army to take over the world. Trayaurus and DanTDM race to find the crystals first, with help from pigs who also covet the crystals' power.
Is it any good?
Already one of the hottest Minecraft players on YouTube, DanTDM is expanding his storytelling empire with an amusing -- though conventional -- tale featuring familiar characters from his videos. DanTDM: Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal is a classic good-vs.-evil tale, complete with sidekicks, gadgets, and an evil lair.
DanTDM's cheery persona makes the jump offscreen largely intact and livens up the pedestrian plot. The graphic novel format isn't always used well -- the action is sometimes hard to follow, and several sequences pad pages without moving the plot along. DanTDM's fans probably won't mind, however. They'll especially enjoy seeing favorite elements from his YouTube videos carried over here, including plentiful pigs and his skeleton dog, Grim. A two-page spread introduces the characters to the uninitiated.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how well DanTDM's online world translates to the written page in DanTDM: Trayaurus and the Enchanted Crystal. Do you enjoy the book as much as the videos?
Read about everyone on "Team DanTDM" listed in the back of the book and talk about their roles. Are you surprised so many people helped create this book? Do you think most YouTube stars are solo operators, or do they get help behind the scenes?
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