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Item - The Flying Carpet


Series: Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 25
Translated Into: Der fliegende Teppich (German)
Author: Razzi, Jim
Illustrator: Bolle, Frank
Date: March, 1985
ISBN: 0553153064 / 9780553153064
Length: 52 pages
Number of Endings: 9
User Summary: As it turns out, the Persian carpet your aunt gave you can fly! You accidentally activate it and get transported to a world of Arabian fairy tales.
Demian's Thoughts:

This is another average entry in the series. Not bad, but not particularly notable.

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KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

As with his first Bantam Skylark Choose Your Own Adventure, The Genie in the Bottle, Jim Razzi borrows an idea from Arab mythology for The Flying Carpet. You're at home one evening in your bedroom, sitting on an artisan Persian rug your globetrotting aunt sent you as a gift. While reading an Arab fairy tale about a wizard and his flying carpet, you murmur the magic words out loud—"Oozak! Popka! Kanoo!"—and your aunt's Persian rug hovers off the floor. It sails out the window with you on it, picking up speed. You're astounded the magic words worked, but when you peek over the embroidered edge, all you see is dark mist. Should you hold on tight or try to escape before the flying carpet strays too far from home?

If you trust your carpet companion not to steer you wrong, you soon relax and enjoy the exhilarating ride. The Persian rug responds to your commands, but it knows where it's going: home to the Middle East. A city appears on the horizon like the ones from your book of Arab fairy tales, and the carpet gently deposits you onto the grounds of a white palace surrounded by a walled garden. What now? If you hide when you hear someone coming, you'll be accused of theft by the wizard who used to own the flying carpet. He has no pity on criminals, so don't let him catch you. Escape the wizard and you'll meet a kind but sad girl named Sarina, abducted by the prince of the palace to serve as his personal cook. Can you come up with a culinary concept to satisfy the prince's demand for "the most delicious dish he has ever eaten" so Sarina may go free? An alternative palace storyline has you meet a man named Perviz, inventor of a mechanical horse. He offers to let you ride the horse in the sultan's big race, but you might regret it when you learn what's at stake. Will the flying carpet save you, or are you doomed to an unpleasant future far from home?

Trying to escape the flying carpet as soon as it jets out your bedroom window results in a fall from enormous height, but your Persian pal won't give up on you that easily. It provides a rope for you to safely climb down. The carpet will fly you directly home if you'd like; otherwise, you find yourself in an Arab city surrounded by men stunned at your sudden appearance climbing down a rope from the sky. Branded a demon, you're chased through the market streets by men waving wicked swords, but a boy named Abdul claims he can help you. Should you place your life in his hands, or hide in a covered basket and hope for the best? Following Abdul gets you away from the swordsmen for a moment, but they haven't stopped hunting you. The flying carpet evacuates you and Abdul from the city just before your pursuers strike, and soon you're hurtling high across the desert. Near another village, you might encounter a malevolent genie or crash into a mound of fruit, but the latter leaves you no worse for the wear. If you ask the carpet to set down in the desert, you'll converse with Abdul and learn about his ambition to rise from poverty and become a magician. It won't be long before the carpet returns you home safe and sound, almost convinced the past hours were a dream. Your aunt had no idea what a remarkable gift her Persian rug was.

The Flying Carpet isn't as fun or innovative as Jim Razzi's The Genie in the Bottle, and the story is far less coherent. Frank Bolle is the star attraction; his illustrations here feel more exotic and expressive than usual for this series, and provide most of the atmosphere. I do appreciate the storyline where you make friends with Abdul, which is the book's most rewarding sequence. Ultimately, if you're craving a Bantam Skylark Choose Your Own Adventure about Arab mythos, The Genie in the Bottle is a better option.

More reviews by KenJenningsJeopardy74

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