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Item - Help! You're Shrinking

(book club edition)
(book club edition)


Series: Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 7
Contained In: Choose Your Own Adventure Skylark 2 Box Set (Collection)
Translated Into: Au secours, je rapetisse! (French)
Estás encogiéndote (Spanish)
Hilfe, ich schrumpfe (German)
T'estàs encongint! (Catalan)
Author: Packard, Edward
Illustrators: Granger, Paul (pseudonym used by Hedin, Don) (cover)
Tomei, Lorna (interior)
Date: April, 1983
ISBN: 0553151959 / 9780553151954
Length: 52 pages
Number of Endings: 11
User Summary: You and your dog discover a bottle of shrinking potion, and predictably bad things occur as a result.
Demian's Thoughts:

This isn't Packard's best work; it has several abrupt endings, and the variations on the title (like "Help! You're Sinking!") which periodically show up as parts of the book's text aren't nearly as cute as one might think. The book isn't helped too much by the artwork, which I found rather unappealing; the little boy appears to be about thirty years old in some of the pictures, and the insects just don't look right. On the positive side, some of the dangerous encounters with conventional animals are at least mildly interesting, and the character of the conscience-stricken Dr. Kemp has some amusement value.

More reviews by Demian

KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

Help! You're Shrinking is far from the only gamebook in which you shrink after interacting with some potion or magic, but Edward Packard's name on the cover automatically grants it a bit of extra credibility. He authored some of the most memorable gamebooks I've encountered, and I hoped this would be another winner. You and your dog Dusty are walking beside Duck Pond when you spot a glass bottle. The label warns not to touch it, and gives the address of a Professor Riga to whom the bottle should be returned if found. You wonder why the blue liquid inside is supposedly dangerous; should you take a closer look?

Leaving the bottle alone is the smart choice, but if you do, Dusty sniffs too close to it and shrinks to the size of a bunny. You could run home by yourself and alert your mother, but is she qualified to help? You can carry your tiny pooch home and consult the veterinarian, but Dr. Kemp is only able to do so much without the bottle of shrinking formula. Will you risk retrieving it for her, knowing you might shrink if you touch it? Either way, you cross paths with Professor Riga, a nervous man profusely apologetic for his carelessness with the shrinking fluid. He's concocted a green liquid he believes is the antidote, but do you consent to Dusty being his test subject? If you pick up the bottle immediately after Dusty first shrinks, you too fall victim to the shrinking fluid. The grass is now a perilous jungle, full of massive, deadly insects. You may end up taking a ride on Dusty's back, or becoming so small you're able to hide in an empty soda bottle. If Professor Riga finds you, brandishing his antidote, don't be so sure you can trust his scientific quackery.

Maybe you chose to examine the bottle as soon as you and Dusty first saw it. In that case, some of the blue substance splashes you, and in moments you are rapidly shrinking. Can you wash the liquid off in Duck Pond and arrest the shrinking process? At your new height, frogs, muskrats, and hornets cause you to fear for your life. You may have to ponder a radically different future as the tiniest human who ever lived. If you're banking on being completely restored to your life before the bottle, you're probably expecting too much, but some story outcomes are definitely happier than others.

No ending in Help! You're Shrinking takes you and Dusty both back to regular size, except for the obligatory "it was all a dream" ending. A wide variety of fates await in these pages: you or Dusty might grow into giants from Professor Riga's antidote, or refuse to take it and remain permanently miniature. You might get lost in the "jungle" beside Duck Pond, doomed to continue shrinking, or you might drown in chocolate pudding. One ending bears striking resemblance to the conclusion of the classic 1957 movie The Incredible Shrinking Man. Ultimately, this book falls short of its potential. Some of the choices suggest you're an odd kid, prone to flights of fancy (one of them literal) that stymie your own efforts to get you back to regular size. At least Lorna Tomei does interesting illustrations of the Duck Pond "jungle" when you're shrunk, but Help! You're Shrinking is not an example of Choose Your Own Adventure excellence. It's worth a few minutes of silly fun, but nothing more.

More reviews by KenJenningsJeopardy74

Special Thanks:Thanks to Ken G. for the book club edition scans.
Users Who Own This Item: Ardennes (Book club), dave2002a, Demian (Weekly Reader edition), duckhugger (hardcover), Erikwinslow, exaquint (HB), Ffghtermedic, Gartax, Gurvo (Hardcover), Himynameistony, horrorbusiness, JoshW, katzcollection, KenJenningsJeopardy74, kinderstef (hardcover), kleme (hardcover), knginatl ( white HB, yellow orig., yellow "book club", red, Cover Craft HB), nelsondesign, newt3425, Nomad, ntar (1st printing & hardcover), outspaced, plowboy, rolipo26, RonaldFrobnitz, stock, strawberry_brite, ThisIslandEarth, waktool (Original, 1st printing (yellow, $1.95); Original, 3rd printing (yellow, $1.95)), Yalius, yunakitty
Users Who Want This Item: bbanzai, exaquint (yellow, yellow book club, red), NEMO, Pseudo_Intellectual, Uraniborg (red)
Users with Extra Copies: Demian - 2nd printing Weekly Reader hardcover; some peeling near spine
ntar - paperback & 2 hardbound

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