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Item - The Magic Path

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Series: Choose Your Own Adventure for Younger Readers — no. 26
Translated Into: La senda màgica (Catalan)
El sendero mágico (Spanish)
Author: Goodman, Julius
Illustrator: Bolle, Frank
Date: April, 1985
ISBNs: 0553153188 / 9780553153187
0553154826 / 9780553154825
Length: 53 pages
Number of Endings: 11
User Summary: While biking with friends, you find a sign in the middle of the woods which somehow transports you through time.
Demian's Thoughts:

While this book isn't exceptional, it does have variety thanks to the time travel theme.

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KenJenningsJeopardy74's Thoughts:

He wasn't a prolific gamebook author, but Julius Goodman added a few lauded titles to the Choose Your Own Adventure franchise—notably The Horror of High Ridge and Treasure Diver—so I was intrigued at the prospect of an entry in the Bantam Skylark series, especially one in the Cave of Time mold. You are biking with your friends Michael and Jenny one Saturday when you come upon a wooden sign with the words, "To Camelot". After going where it points, the scenery blurs and you find yourself staring at a castle... and each of you is wearing knight armor and a sword. Have you traveled through time to the era of King Arthur? Should you move toward the castle, or try to get home before something bad happens?

Beating a hasty retreat gets you back to your own time, but do you really have no curiosity about this path that enables time travel? Looking at the sign, you see it now reads, "To Buffalo Bill's Original Wild West Show". You could leave and tell a family member, but exploring is a better choice within the story. You are transported to Nebraska in the old American West, now decked out in cowboy garb. Buffalo Bill's show requires payment, and if you use your nickels and hope the attendant doesn't look closely at the date they're stamped with, you are soon part of an excited crowd watching Buffalo Bill Cody and Annie Oakley in action. Will you volunteer to let Annie Oakley shoot an apple off your head, or just sit back and enjoy the show as spectator? When a buffalo stampede hits, do you try to divert the herd so no one is injured, or trust that Buffalo Bill has things under control? However you manage yourself, the Wild West show will be unforgettable.

Visiting Camelot is this book's marquee adventure. If you go that way, it divides into three paths: one toward the castle, one toward "Merlin's Keep", and another to London. Maybe Merlin can explain how you wound up in the distant past, but the wizard isn't as jovial as storybooks present him. A jaunt to London places you in the path of a fire-breathing dragon; can you fend it off with guile, or should you flee toward your own time? Running around wildly in a space-time vortex could get you home safely, or land you in the dinosaur era and lead to a grisly demise. Perhaps your best choice is to continue on to the castle, but you'll have to win a confrontation with a knight in black armor. Surviving takes cleverness, but if you do, you'll have your afternoon with Sir Lancelot and King Arthur, an experience that makes your time travel escapade worth every bit of trouble.

What I like about The Magic Path is that, for the most part, it rewards a swashbuckling spirit. The opportunity to travel through time shouldn't be taken lightly, and if you are timid you may lose it. The book never forces you to accept your grand adventure. Not every choice ends well, though; there are even a few death endings. The reason I'm not a fan of The Magic Path is how superficial the storylines are: you only meet King Arthur in one branch, and don't do much of consequence regardless where you go. Also, the rules for time travel are inconsistent: in some endings you are automatically ejected to the present if you're about to die, while in others you can perish in the past. And what in blazes is a real dragon doing en route to historical London? This book isn't as fun or philosophical as Edward Packard's The Cave of Time or The Forbidden Castle, but it's not a terrible introduction to time travel for the youngest readers.

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Users Who Own This Item: Ardennes, Auric, bobthefunny, dave2002a, Garrick Muttley, Gartax, jharvey79, katzcollection, KenJenningsJeopardy74, kinderstef, knginatl (red, red permabound), rtaylor352, spragmatic, strawberry_brite, ThaRid, waktool (US 1st)
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