Rip and Mei are trapped inside a brand new video game. No one on the outside knows they're in there. If they don't play the game and find the way out, they'll be stuck ... forever. They must build a shelter and find food while they battle Flametigers, sombrero-wearing spiders and lava-lizards!
How will they survive? Welcome to Dig World!
Online computer gaming is a popular activity with an increasingly younger audience. Mr Six has already tried his hand at several offline games, and it won't be long before he is playing online as well. He is already an accomplished player of Chuzzle and Plants vs Zombies, and he also enjoys Zuma! He already knows a lot about the way games work and it is only a matter of time before he joins his older cousins in various virtual realities.
In the interim, this book is a delight for a child of this age as it gives him the background without the need to actually go on the internet. We read the book together - I learned two new words ('NOOB" and "HUD") and he learned several more; for example, "melee", "digital" and "pixel". He also commented that the word "conquer" was spelled in an unusual manner when it was part of a name, and this led to a whole discussion on how words are used differently in different contexts. This was a great learning experience for him.
As the adventure unfolded, Mr Six became more and more involved in the story. Finally, he took the book away and continued reading on his own. The target audience is primary school aged children, so at six-and-a-half he was more than capable of reading on his own with just the occasional assistance from an adult when he met an unfamiliar word. When I returned to reading with him, he had nearly finished the book so we read the last section together. Now we can't wait for Volume 2 to come out so that we can find out what happens on the next level.
The one problem with books based on technology is that they tend to become out of date almost as soon as they reach the bookstores! Some of the fonts used, and the situations the children find themselves in within the game, have already been superseded. However, this will always be the case - upgrades are a fact of life within the IT world. I guess the best thing is to enjoy the book for its own sake and suspend the urge to over-analyse. If gaming and related stories are taken too seriously they cease to be fun.
When I first saw this book it sounded like something my son would really enjoy so I was super excited when we received it to review. The story centers around a couple of kids, Rip and Mei, who find themselves trapped inside a video game that is mysteriously delivered to them.
I'll start off by saying that this book screams Minecraft. The game graphics are blocky and everything is made up of cubes. The gameplay style is the same as well - build a shelter, find food and survive the night. I guess the main difference would be the monsters - my son wasn't impressed that they were all based around the element of fire with the exception of hat wearing crabs. That being said it's still an exciting and action packed read which had my son hanging on every word. He's really into computer games at the moment and in particular Minecraft so he really enjoyed this book.
The chapters are a little on the long side with a few black and white illustrations scattered throughout. I think this book would be suitable for ages 9+. My son (almost 9) was able to read it independently but he did struggle with understanding and pronouncing some of the words. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing as I like finding books that challenge him and encourage him to ask questions when he doesn't understand something.
I liked the way the book ended even though it is a bit of a cliffhanger. However, we were left with a number of unanswered questions and it would have been nice if they'd tied up all the loose ends in this book before proceeding to the next. Still, it definitely left us wanting more and I can't wait for the next book in the series.
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