Monday, November 29, 2010

Review: Taking the Reins & Giveaway

Summary: It’s time to ride! Girls can select their own endings in this story that takes place on the campus of Innerstar University™. Readers can imagine themselves as the main character, a girl who rides horses at the stable but steers clear of competition. Whenever there's an audience, her confidence heads for the hills. So when she's invited to ride a spirited horse in the next event, she has some tough choices to make. Will she find her confidence and climb on? With more than 20 different endings, girls will enjoy this book again and again to see how different decisions change the story. Plus, this interactive book comes with a secret access code to unlock additional endings online! -- American Girl

Booking Daughter and I both are huge fans of the American Girl books. In fact, I think Booking Daughter has probably read almost all of them. She loves the historical character ones as well as the mysteries and the crafts books, and she even subscribes to the magazine. I really can't rave enough about the quality of the American Girl publications.

Recently, American Girl has released a new series of books called Innerstar University. There are currently four books in this series, and we were fortunate enough to receive a copy of TAKING THE REINS by Alison Hart. All of the books in this series have a set of dilemmas/decisions which the characters face. The reader of the story gets to pretend that she is the main character of the story and ultimately "make" some important decisions. The various choices that the reader makes will determine the outcome of the book. In TAKING THE REINS, there are more than 20 different endings!

TAKING THE REINS is probably geared towards middle to late elementary age girls, but Booking Daughter still managed to enjoy the story. She liked reading this novel about a group of girls who attend Innerstar University. When one of the girls get injured and can't compete in the upcoming competition, "you" have the opportunity to fill her shoes. Unfortunately, "you" have a bad case of nerves and aren't sure that "you" learn to ride a new horse and compete in front of a crowd all before the next event. "You" must make some important decisions while at the same time not letting down your friends.

I read this book a few times and made some different choices along the way so I could see some of the various outcomes. Booking Daughter also read this book quite a few times, but her reason was because she was trying to get a specific outcome -- the one where the girls make cupcakes. She still hasn't found it, so she continues to read the book!

Besides having some great story lines, there are also some adorable pictures in the book. (I'm guessing that's how Booking Daughter discovered the cupcake ending!) The Innerstar University girls resemble a wide variety of the "My American Girl" dolls, and I can easily see young girls role-playing the stories in this book with their dolls.

As a mom, I liked each of the different outcomes and thought they all offered some great lessons about self confidence and friendship. In addition, I love that kids can read the books over and over again! I feel as if I'm getting more bang for my buck that way! I have fond memories of "Choose Your Own Adventure" stories from my childhood, and I'm so excited that young girls can do the same with these new Innerstar University books and especially TAKING THE REINS.

Thanks to the author for sending me a copy of this book.

Giveaway alert: I have an extra copy of TAKING THE REINS to share with one lucky reader. To enter, just fill out the form below before December 5th at 11:59 p.m. ET. I will randomly select and notify the winner the following day. Contest is open to those of you with U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. Good luck!


Anonymous said...

wow, it's been a really long time since I've read an American Girl book! I saw these the other day. They look like a great concept for Middle Graders. fun!

Beth F said...

Oh shoot. I'm so sorry my niece is too old for these books now. She loved her American Girl doll and I bet would have loved these books.

bermudaonion said...

I used to love choose your own adventures books, so I'm sure this one will be a hit!

Rebecca Rasmussen said...

Oh my gosh -- choose your own adventures were such fun! This series looks great...can't wait until Ava is old enough for them.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I need to find these for The Girl Band, I think... she might be a bit young for them...

At any rate, thanks for the e-mail, doll. I've got this posted at Win a Book for you.