Choose Your Own Adventure - Dragonlarks
Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 2
Choose Your Own Adventure Junior — no. 1
Choose Your Own Adventure Skylark 1 Box Set (Collection)
La casa encantada (Catalan)
La casa encantada (Spanish)
Hayaletli ev (Turkish)
La maison hantée (French)
Os misterios da casa cinzenta (Portuguese)
Montgomery, R. A.
(pseudonym used by Hedin, Don)
(First printing; Original version, red cover edition; Original version, school edition; Fourth printing)
Newton, Keith (Dragonlarks edition, first printing; Australian edition; Dragonlarks edition, later printing; Dragonlarks edition, third printing)
November, 1981 (First printing)
May, 2007 (Dragonlarks edition, first printing)
0553151193 / 9780553151190
0553152076 / 9780553152074 (Original version, school edition)
0553154281 / 9780553154283 (Original version, red cover edition)
0553156799 / 9780553156799 (Original version, red cover edition)
1933390514 / 9781933390512 (Dragonlarks edition, first printing, Dragonlarks edition, later printing, Dragonlarks edition, third printing)
56 pages (First printing, Fourth printing, Original version, school edition, Original version, red cover edition)
|Number of Endings:||
US$1.75 (Fourth printing)
Dragonlarks edition, first printing:
Thanks to Ken G. for the front and back cover scans.
|User Summary:||Your dog runs into a haunted house and you must find him.|
Being aimed at very young children, this book is an incredibly fast read and has almost no content at all. Consequently, it's not very interesting.
Is The Haunted House the most absurd gamebook ever published? I can't think of a more likely candidate. You are walking home from school for lunch with your dog Homer, when he spots a white cat and gives chase. They dash into a stranger's yard and inside a mansion with gothic architecture, broken windows, and rotting shingles. It couldn't look more haunted. You're sitting on a cold stone bench in the deserted backyard, contemplating what to do, when a hollow voice from the house calls that Homer is inside. Should you go after your beloved pet?
Running away won't spare you; tripping down a set of stairs, you're knocked unconscious and awaken in the dirty, lightless basement of the house. You could remain quiet, but what happens when a furry something bumps you? You might wind up being offered chocolates by a man-sized turtle covered in fur, or wander out of the basement and meet a couple of kids who can lead you out of this place. If you scream for help when the furry thing first touches you, a giant bat swoops by, speaking your language and offering rescue. He'll fly you out of the house to a garden of gigantic fruit, and from there you wander to a neighborhood of houses made from pastries and cakes. They look too delectable not to snack on, but what will the munchkin mayor says when he catches you? You didn't mean any harm; maybe he has a way to return you home.
If you enter the haunted house willingly when the voice first calls out, you run into a spectral woman in white who wants you to follow her into the dark, damp interior. You'll be free of the house instantly if you do, but how long are you willing to stay beside her? All the way up a beam of light into the radiant sky? You could lose your life, family, and the dog you risked entering the house to save. If you leave the woman and do so early enough, you'll find yourself back in the house, but with a friendly boy named Anson. He knows where Homer is...and potentially has a big surprise for you. If you never accompany the woman in white, the scary voice commands you to go down the cellar steps. Ignore that order and you'll meet a plump talking mouse; he takes you to a pair of doors, one openable by a gold key and the other a silver. Is there one correct choice? Maybe you pushed past the mouse and ran down the nearby tunnel alone, leading to a tiny door and a normal one that lead two very different places. Listening to the voice and going down cellar could lead to a tussle with a wimpy alligator or a ride in a magic boat. Will you and Homer make it out of the house? Read the book and discover your answer.
Objectively, The Haunted House may be not only the most psychedelic mainstream gamebook ever, but one of the worst. A single ghost shows up, and she's more angel than haint. The majority of your adventures are trippy and fantasy-oriented, not scary, so the selling point of it being a haunted house story doesn't ring true. Internal continuity is nonexistent; so many liberties are taken that it's hard to keep track what's going on. I appreciate the author's own young son Anson being inserted into the narrative; Anson Montgomery would go on to write many Choose Your Own Adventure books. The clown car ending on page thirty-nine is a surprising callback to book one of the Bantam Skylark series, The Circus; the illustration here is almost exactly modeled on one from that book. Ultimately there's a campy kind of fun to be had from The Haunted House, and I love Paul Granger's drawings, so I stop short of calling the book terrible. As I've found over the years, it grows on you.
This is for kids in the 6-9 range with only a sentence or two per page. I have the Dragonlarks version which has big, glossy illustrations.
The story is standard youth fare, with the protagonist entering an old house to find a lost puppy. It has lots of zany paths, none of which could be deemed scary, and most of the choices are arbitrary. However, reading this with my 6-year-old daughter, I learned that she saw nothing wrong with taking candy offered by a furry, talking tortoise, which leads me to question my parenting so far.
I read this book individually with my daughter (5) and son (7). My daughter chose it because it looked "spooky" and she likes that kind of thing.
This book is crazy/nuts; the story lines are so random, which I don't know was by design or not (refer to spoiler below). There are 18 endings in total and the two that we played through were so random and weird that I immediately wanted to play through all the others just to see if they had stranger outcomes. If the intent was to create a surreal haunted house experience, it is a success. If the intent was to create a "surreal" haunted house experience where anything goes, R. A. Montgomery definitely succeeded in doing so.
My kids really enjoyed the book. Each story line is really short so it only took about 10 minutes to read each time. They were really excited to go and tell mum what happened. They were also inspired to draw their own versions of the front cover.
Overall, I understand why it might not be enjoyable for an adult but my kids (who are the target audience), really enjoyed it and wanted to play it again.
My daughter went flying around with a ghost woman. She went exploring with a kid wearing a baseball glove and holding a Frisbee. She had a surprise birthday with all her friends, dog and mum and blew out the candles on the biggest chocolate birthday cake she'd ever seen.
My son heard a spooky voice coming from the cellar which he followed. He found a river running through the cellar with a boat that paddled itself. He also found a garden in the cellar and a bus that was shaped like a sausage which drove him back to his house.
|Errata:||Some reissue editions list "12 endings" on the cover, but these printings include 18 endings just like every other version of the book.|
|Users Who Own This Item:||Ardennes (yellow) (Yellow, 18 ending reissue w/o border), bobthefunny, dave2002a, Demian (first reissue printing), duckhugger, Erikwinslow (Red cover), exaquint (1st yellow, 2nd yellow, 17th red no price) (dragonlark 1st, dragonlark 8th), Ffghtermedic, Garrick Muttley, Gartax, Groatsworth, Himynameistony, horrorbusiness, jdreller, jharvey79, JoshW, katzcollection (original) (third printing with erroneous "12 endings" on cover), KenJenningsJeopardy74, killagarilla, kinderstef, knginatl (orig. yellow, red, yellow "school edition", yellow "book fair", yellow "special", w/border reissue, w/o border reissue) (orig. yellow, red, yellow "school edition", yellow "book fair", yellow "special", w/border reissue, w/o border reissue) (orig. yellow, red, yellow "school edition", yellow "book fair", yellow "special", w/border reissue, w/o border reissue), Kveto, Lullyph, marcfonline, marnaudo, mattender, morbus, nelsondesign, NEMO (Ex-Library copy,tape wraps around both covers covering them.), newt3425, Nomad, ntar (red and hardback red), Pseudo_Intellectual, RonaldFrobnitz, Ryuran333 (yellow), spragmatic, strawberry_brite, theyodaman (yellow "special"), twar, Uraniborg, waktool (Original, 4th printing (yellow, $1.75); Original, 6th printing (yellow, $1.95)) (Dragonlark, CN 2nd printing) (Junior, CN 1st printing), Yalius, YourSoundtrack, yunakitty|
|Users Who Want This Item:||exaquint (yellow school edition, yellow book fair, yellow special, red w/price), NEMO (Any other), ntar (dragonlarks)|
|Users with Extra Copies:||
exaquint - 2nd yellow
Lambchop - Great shape pics available upon request
ntar - 2
Known EditionsFirst printing
Original version, school edition
Original version, red cover edition
Dragonlarks edition, first printing
Dragonlarks edition, third printing
Dragonlarks edition, later printing