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I Choose You: 02/10/09
Most of the children's books I review on this blog belong to my children. Before either child was born, I was a Pokémon fan. I started with the cartoons that were shown on the KidsWB and from there moved onto the games. When my son was about two and a half he discovered the Pokémon cartoons at daycare. Now Harriet is also into Pokémon.With both children enjoying the series and games we have started to collect the old chapter books that first came out when the cartoon was imported.
The first in the series is I Choose You. All of the early books are written / adapted by Tracey West. All together she's written more than thirty books. I like her Pokémon books because she's a fan too and manages to fill in the blanks that are sometimes there in an episode, movie or story arc.
I Choose You traces how Ash and Pikachu first started working together. It's basically the initial story arc of Pikachu and Ash's friendship where it's put to the ultimate test in episode 37, "Pikachu's Good-bye." As the focus is only on Ash and Pikachu, a lot of the other adventures in the first season are set aside for other future books in the series.
I like that these books aren't just novelizations of each and every episode. By drawing elements from so many episodes, West is able to show how both characters grow as their friendship develops. In the television series this friendship is pushed aside for the most part after about the third episode to make room for Ash's quest to get into the Pokéleague. It's all about his battling for badges, getting lost and thwarting Team Rocket along the way.
All the books in the series have stills from the episodes and movies. In this one they are grayscale and the whole thing is printed on newsprint. Later books in the series are printed on nicer paper and have full color shots. I am as much a fan of Tracey West's Pokémon books as my children are and I've been reading them on and off since before they were born.
Comment #1: Wednesday, February, 11, 2009 at 09:36:31
The pokemon phenomenon has always been a foreign thing to me; I never understood it. But when my kid gets older she'll surely come across it and this book sounds like it might give me a good idea of the basic thread of characters and story.
Comment #2: Thursday, February 12, 2009 at 20:57:13
If your daughter gets into the Poké cartoons the books will be helpful to understand the cartoons. The cartoons aren't shown as often on TV as they once were so she might not be exposed to it unless she meets a friend who is a fan or has an older sibling or parents who are. If she gets interested in the video games or the card trading game, you'll need to get a Pokédex (basically a catalogue of all the different creatures and what they can do).