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Item - The Genie in the Bottle


Series: Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 10
Translated Into: El geni de l'ampolla (Catalan)
El genio de la botella (Spanish)
Şişedeki cin (Turkish)
Author: Razzi, Jim
Illustrators: Granger, Paul (pseudonym used by Hedin, Don) (cover)
Callahan, Kevin (interior)
Date: June, 1983
ISBN: 0553151916 / 9780553151916
Length: 54 pages
Number of Endings: 9
User Summary: You find a genie in a bottle and, predictably enough, get some wishes granted.
Demian's Thoughts: There's nothing particularly remarkable about this book, though it's certainly not a bad entry in the series.

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KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts: Not all the Bantam Skylark Choose Your Own Adventures contain as much narrative variety as their counterparts for older kids, but The Genie in the Bottle is surprisingly good in this respect. Jim Razzi takes a common fantasy--finding a genie who grants wishes--and in fifty-four pages fashions a story with impressive creative energy, where it feels as though anything can happen depending on how innovative you are as a wish maker. That's quite an accomplishment for a book this short that caters to kids as young as seven. Your adventure begins on an autumn day walking down the beach. You spot a golden bottle full of smoke, and inside appears to be a miniature man. Is he a genie, like in the legends? You know genies are evil in stories at least as often as they are good-natured. Should you take a chance and uncork the bottle, or throw it out to sea?

If fear compels you to refuse this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your story doesn't go much further. The bottle smashes on a rock when you hurl it away, releasing the genie, who is angry at you for not letting him out. He wants revenge, but if you're contrite he may take pity and allow a do-over. The majority of story is inaccessible if you don't open the bottle. Why not bet on your genie being a benevolent type?

Uncork the genie and you gain a happy servant, one who never double-crosses you in this book. You aren't limited to a single wish or three wishes, but as many as you can conceive. Your imagination roams: you could wish everything you eat tastes like pizza, or that it were summer so you can swim in the ocean. The genie's powers aren't foolproof, but he'll try to bail you out if you wish unwisely. Ask to become a fish and you'll explore the ocean floor, but be wary of sharks. You could end up conversing with a mermaid and having a day you'll remember forever. There are several other adventures to select from. Go fly the Red Baron's triplane high above a metropolis, but watch out for aggressive Air Force fighter jets. The genie can turn you into rubber so you aren't harmed if you fall from the plane, or reverse gravity so you fall up. A celebration beverage at Pete's Soda Shop ends in a confrontation with Big Butch, a bully who has bothered you before. The conclusion to that storyline is unexpected and amusing. If you've had enough adventure, you can free the genie as reward for loyal service. You'll always have your memories of this day with an all-powerful granter of wishes.

The Genie in the Bottle isn't the very best Bantam Skylark Choose Your Own Adventures, but it's among the better ones. The wish options are quirky and lead places you won't anticipate. Jim Razzi adds a few stylistic surprises to how the writing is presented on the page. For what it is, The Genie in the Bottle is good, and lends itself to rereading as much as any book in the series. This would be fun to share as a read-aloud.

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