Mystery of the Map: Poptropica, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Mystery of the Map: Poptropica, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Nonstop action propels website spin-off.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Full of nonstop cartoon action, Mystery of the Map will appeal to reluctant readers. There's no explanation yet for how Vikings, dodos, and saber-toothed tigers coexist on a tropical isle.

Positive Messages

Friends can work together to protect each other from dangerous foes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Oliver, Mya, and Jorge stick up for each other when they are harassed by the Vikings and by Octavian. Mya is the most responsible of the bunch. Jorge is impulsive and always hungry. Oliver is brave and outgoing.

Violence & Scariness

A small amount of cartoonish violence. The kids struggle against Octavian and the Vikings with whatever makeshift weapons are handy: a broom, a loaf of bread. They're chased by Vikings shooting arrows and brandishing spears and maces.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Mystery of the Map: Poptropica, Book 1 is the first volume in a series of graphic novels based on the popular gaming website Poptropica, created by Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney. Three kids find themselves on a mysterious tropical island and must fight off an aggressive band of Vikings in their search for a way home. Violence is suitably slapstick and cartoony, with no real sense of jeopardy. A great choice for reluctant readers. 

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What's the story?

After their hot-air balloon is steered off course, Oliver, Maya, and Jorge find themselves stranded on a mysterious island populated by extinct animals and angry Vikings. Luckily, Oliver has a magical map that provides clues about how to escape. But they'll only get to use it if they can escape the Vikings and foil Octavian, the crook responsible for their plight.

Is it any good?

Colorful, funny, and fast-paced, this graphic novel spin-off from the popular gaming website will likely appeal to both hard-core fans and newcomers. MYSTERY OF THE MAP: POPTROPICA, BOOK 1 is a quick and easy read, with at least one joke or sight gag per page. The characters and their motivations are simple, but Oliver, Mya, and Jorge have plenty of personality, thanks to their jelly-bean faces and bubble eyes. Author Jack Chabert devises intriguing situations, and illustrator Kory Merritt choreographs the action with wit and flair. The story ends with lots of questions unanswered, leaving readers ready for further adventures.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about online games. Which ones are best suited for age 6 to 13? What elements make for a good game?

  • How do Oliver, Mya, and Jorge work together to protect themselves from danger?

  • How do you find friends that you can rely on?

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