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Item - The Miss Liberty Caper

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Series: Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 35
Translated Into: Aventuras en la Estatua de la Libertad (Spanish)
Author: Saunders, Susan
Illustrator: Bloch, Alex
Date: July, 1986
ISBN: 0553154168 / 9780553154160
Length: 52 pages
Number of Endings: 7
User Summary: You have to find and recapture your escaped pet flying squirrel which you brought along on a trip to the Statue of Liberty on a dare.
Demian's Thoughts:

This is one of the better "educational" books in the series; while you search for the squirrel, various facts about the Statue of Liberty are mentioned. This is done a bit cheesily at times, but many of the facts are interesting and memorable enough that the book might actually work as a teaching tool.

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KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

Some Choose Your Own Adventure books feel like an educational pamphlet camouflaged by a hastily constructed fictional narrative, and this is at least partially true of The Miss Liberty Caper. Kids have visited the Statue of Liberty in New York for generations, but you decide to add a twist to your experience: you sneak your pet flying squirrel Charley in, via your backpack. He sleeps in the daytime anyway, and you'll keep him zipped inside so he doesn't get lost. As Heather, the counselor for your day camp field trip, leads your tour through Lady Liberty, you and your friend Sandra peek in the bag to check on Charley...and he scampers off. Can you retrieve the little rodent before Heather finds out you brought him?

Flying squirrels like heights, so maybe he's headed upstairs toward the statue's torch or crown. The torch is off limits to tourists, but a park ranger might go up and search if you ask. Won't you be in trouble, though, if he learns you smuggled an animal in? You could sneak past the ranger and look for Charley yourself, but it's a long, risky climb up a steel ladder to the torch. If you locate Charley en route, he may evade you long enough to cause trouble. Maybe you think you'll find him in Miss Liberty's crown instead, but what if he takes off flying from there, hundreds of feet to the ground? The sight is sure to be spectacular; however, Heather won't be pleased.

Could Charley have gone downstairs instead of up? If you search there, you spot a girl in a red dress with a small gray shape on her shoulder. Is it Charley? The statue is crowded, so getting a close enough look at the girl will be difficult, but when you lose track of her outside and then catch sight of a boat ferry departing Liberty Island, you have to decide if you think she's aboard. Perhaps you'll end up searching for Charley at the museum in the statue's pedestal and have an encounter that feels like time travel, or go up to the balcony and see if your flying friend is there. Will you and Charley ever have your reunion, and can you make it happen without getting in big trouble?

Much of The Miss Liberty Caper reads as though a ham-fisted academic tour guide were being paid to lecture you without letting on that the experience is supposed to be educational. The lack of subtlety is almost amusing. There are moments of light suspense as you chase Charley through the monument, and these are improved a great deal by Alex Bloch's illustrations. The ones on pages five, twelve, twenty, and twenty-five exude a vertigo vibe worthy of Alfred Hitchcock. I'm not sold on how Mr. Bloch draws people or faces, but he has talent for rendering a scene. I would like The Miss Liberty Caper better if the "education tour" aspect were less in-your-face, but this isn't a bad book for the Bantam Skylark series.

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