Help! You're Shrinking
3473348058 / 9783473348053
This German translation of a children's gamebook by Edward Packard is a short affair of 59 pages, half of them filled with bright watercolours by Claus Danner. It's all very childish - and at the same time, a joy to play even for an adult. The admittedly brief narration is packed with surprises and unexpected turns, real choices (11 nodes, i.e. decision points) and a consistent environment.
The story covers a theme especially fascinating for its prime audience, children: growing and shrinking. As you can read over on the page for the English original titled Help! You're Shrinking, the premise is that a mad doctor has developed a shrinking potion. You and your dog find a bottle of it while taking a walk. Depending on your choices, you or your dog or both may get shrunk....
In my opinion, in its niche as a modern interactive fairy tale, Hilfe! Ich schrumpfe is a masterpiece. I hadn't read anything by Edward Packard before - I certainly will try to find more of his work. To be fair, the German version with its lovingly painted watercolours may look a bit more appealing that the original. I especially like the illustration of a veterinarian examining a minuscule dog through a looking-glass on page 19, with a fretting boy sitting by.
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