Poptropica is a virtual online world in which kids from 7-13 children take part in adventures that require creativity, persistence, logic, and coordination to solve. It’s not new- it’s actually been around since 2009. See? Not new…I have just been under a rock. I like to read books before I play games or watch movies that tie into them and encourage my kids to do the same, so now that we’ve been introduced to Jack Chabert’s Poptropica: Mystery of the Map, we can spend more time playing the game while waiting for the next book to hit shelves in the fall of 2016.
As a parent, I can relax about the kids’ safety as they, along with other players, explore an ever-growing chain of islands, travel back in time, battle monsters, solve mysteries, and complete many quests that await in the kidSAFE-certified adventure. Being kidSAFE-certified means that no personally identifiable information is taken from kids in the game- and even chat features in the game are pre-written replies, so there’s not risk that your seven year old is going to stumble upon a less than desirable “friend” in the virtual world that could say anything inappropriate or unkind. We’re pretty strict about content in our house- movies, TV shows, games, books are all screened by us before the kids engage. They are pretty stoked about Poptropica because it’s a whole lot of cool factor but also gets mom’s stamp of approval.
Poptropica Books: Graphic Novels
Not only is the world of Poptropica fun for kids, but it is fun for adults too (at least this adult), and the fun gets broadened all the time- especially now that there are books like Poptropica: Mystery of the Map (written by Jack Chabert, illustrated by Kory Merritt) available. Kids who’ve played the game will see many familiar elements in the book, but the books can stand on their own, and introduce new mystery, action and adventure – and a new mode of transportation – a hot air balloon/blimp!
Poptropica: Mystery of the Map is the first entry in an epic graphic novel series for children available in book stores March 1st. When Oliver, Mya and Jorge take a ride in a hot-air balloon, they crash-land on an unknown island filled with extinct animals and a horde of angry Vikings.
Welcome to Poptropica, an unchartered group of islands whose existence is hidden from the rest of the world. As the three friends embark on a perilous search for a way home, they quickly discover that something sinister is lurking on the island – something that threatens the very existence of Poptropica itself!
Can Oliver, Mya and Jorge escape the clutches of the bloodthirsty Vikings? Will they discover a way home? Find out in Poptropica: Mystery of the Map.
I’m a big fan of anything that encourages kids to want to pick up a book and read, so I’m enamored with the idea of creating books to go along with an online game that kids are already playing. If it’s getting them inspired to open a book and turn the pages… that’s a win. My kids, lucky for us, LOVE to read. They’ll devour a book and then re-read it over and over. My son’s read Mystery of the Map 4 times in a week. He loves the comic-style writing and with lots of humor woven throughout the mystery and adventure, he’s already asking when Book 2 will be ready to read! I am also quite certain he’s trying to figure out how he can make a map of his own that will be as enchanted and responsive as the paper map!
Kids practice problem solving skills, read about favorite authors, discover all kinds of fun factoids about some favorite celebrities and can play Poptropica free if they want…although membership offers even more options and things to do within this virtual world. There are 7 islands to play and explore just for members. (Membership ranges from 1-6 months and pricing goes from $3.95 to $19.95). It’s available for pretty much every device around, so kids can play at home, school or on the go.
Characters with big giant eyes seem to be a big thing these days and everyone you meet in the Poptropica Islands, friends and foe, have them. We haven’t gotten very far in the game as yet since we’ve only just discovered it so recently (again with me living under a rock) but the kids are enjoying it and it’s been fun to hear them chatting about different characters from the books and similarities from the book to the game and vice versa. It’s not just Poptropica characters that kids will encounter during game play- they’ll also meet friends from Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang, and more.
Poptropica is also from the awesome Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, which I am guessing you’ve all at least HEARD of, if you haven’t read at least one of the books. If you haven’t- go to any book fair, and you’ll see an entire table devoted solely to the latest Wimpy Kid book. Kids LOVE them. They relate to them. Poptropica has that same draw for kids (and if I am honest, me!).
- Visit the Poptropica Facebook page
- Follow Poptropica on Twitter
- Find them on Instagram @PoptropicaCreators
Reader Giveaway ($50 value): Poptropica: Mystery of the Map book, 6-month subscription to Poptropica online game, Poptropica plushie toy, sticker and Poptropica Blimp.