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Item - The Creature from Miller's Pond

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(book fair edition)
Series: Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 12
Contained In: Choose Your Own Adventure Skylark 3 Box Set (Collection)
Translated Into: La créature mystérieuse de la Mare-à-Meunier (French)
El monstre de la llacuna (Catalan)
El monstruo de la laguna (Spanish)
Author: Saunders, Susan
Illustrators: Granger, Paul (pseudonym used by Hedin, Don) (cover)
Enik, Ted (interior)
Date: September, 1983
ISBN: 0553152238 / 9780553152234
Length: 54 pages
Number of Endings: 10
User Summary: You and your best friend somehow manage to catch a humanoid lake monster while fishing.
Demian's Thoughts:

This is a fairly entertaining book with some funny illustrations. It starts out rather unconventionally, with the first two paragraphs being something of a prologue to the action, then proceeds with the story, which has some amusing moments (my favorite being the point where you decide you should keep the monster because "Nobody else has a Creature for a pet."). My biggest complaint is that the ending on page 41 lacks finality and should have been expanded on in some way. As it is, I'm left to theorize, in Lovecraftian fashion, that the creature was a Deep One and somehow managed to contact Dagon....

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KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

While The Creature from Miller's Pond resembles an earlier Bantam Skylark Choose Your Own AdventureGorga, the Space Monster—Susan Saunders does enough to keep her book distinct from Edward Packard's, and ultimately creates the better story. Summer is beginning, so you and your friend Hal go fishing at Miller's Pond. You're just getting settled in when your line snags underwater. It could be a rock or log, but you can't believe your eyes when a scaly green monster in a hard shell breaks the surface. Waving its webbed appendages, the Creature trudges forward, its bulbous black eyes on you. What will you do?

Hang around too long and the Creature pulls you underwater to its cavernous lair. You're lucky to be alive, but now the Creature is nowhere in sight. The only light emanates from a glowing salamander, but can you use it to find an exit? How you proceed means the difference between escape and indefinite imprisonment; you may not be alone in the Creature's lair. If you immediately flee when it first surfaces, speeding away with Hal on your bikes, the monster gives chase. You could pedal for Main Street, where a few options present themselves. Do you lead the Creature to the firehouse so the chief can capture it? You may wind up feeling sorry for your amphibious pursuer, trapped in a net. If you bike to the movie theater instead, potential catastrophe turns into a serendipitous occurrence that has you glad you met the Creature. A bit of monstrous amusement in the appropriate arena can earn you a tidy profit and a happy ending.

If drawing the monster toward Main Street seems like a bad idea, you can ride home instead. It's closer, and you can lock the Creature outside if you're fast. You might lure it into the garage using canned tuna as bait, where you can close the door on it and call a professional. An aquarium may be best equipped to house and study the Creature, but don't get too comfortable once the vehicle drives off with the Creature inside. Who said it was the only member of its species? Maybe you'll call an animal shelter instead, but inevitably you have second thoughts. Does the Creature deserve to be locked up? You could send the shelter man away and contact your cousin Maggie, a marine biology graduate student. She'll treat your amphibious new pal with compassion. Alternatively, you have the option more than once of taking the Creature back to Miller's Pond, or hiding it in your house like a secret pet. Your mother would be aghast, but you're growing fond of the creepy webbed weirdo, and are reluctant to say goodbye. No story ending allows you to keep the Creature, but if you attempt to return it to Miller's Pond, your connection persists afterward through rumors of sightings that could only be your monster. Perhaps returning it to Lake Minnewonka is better, where the Creature will have more room to hide from prying eyes, but losing your friend still won't be easy. You've become close in the short time you've known each other.

A few of Susan Saunders's gamebooks are better—You Are Invisible and Blizzard at Black Swan Inn among them—but The Creature from Miller's Pond is entertaining, and a couple of endings are mildly emotional. Bonding with a benevolent monster is a formative experience, and you won't want to part ways before you have to. I'm not usually a fan of Ted Enik's illustrations, but this book features some of his most appealing work. A few endings that are abrupt or implausible keep me from heartily recommending The Creature from Miller's Pond, but I did like it. I'm sure I'll reread this story many times.

More reviews by KenJenningsJeopardy74

Special Thanks:Thanks to B Banzai for the book fair edition cover scan.
Users Who Own This Item: Ardennes, bobthefunny (HC), duckhugger, exaquint (yellow), Gartax, jharvey79, katzcollection, KenJenningsJeopardy74, kinderstef, knginatl (yellow, yellow "book fair", red), marcfonline, newt3425, Oberonbombadil (US 1st (yellow)), RonaldFrobnitz, rtaylor352, spragmatic, strawberry_brite, waktool (Original, 1st printing (yellow, $1.95)), YourSoundtrack
Users Who Want This Item: exaquint (yellow book fair, red), Ffghtermedic, horrorbusiness, NEMO, Nomad, ntar, Pseudo_Intellectual, zat
Users with Extra Copies: bobthefunny - sc
duckhugger - (rough around the edges and many of the pages are loose from the binding... ex-library copy)

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