Finding himself in the Afterlife, ten year old Billy must wait to be recycled back into the Livingworld. Meanwhile, he's stuck trying to figure out how he's supposed to survive in this backwards existence where sunlight burns, the dead are living, and the memories of his past lives are stored in a secret book.
The problem is that Billy's has been stolen, and now he has to find it and discover why the dreaded Reaper is after him.
Choose for Billy and help him find his way through the Afterlife in this new "Choose-Your-Own-Demise" novel.
David H. Burton is a pure genius. Why you ask? Well... because he came up with a great idea to get kids to read! I'll tell you more in just a second, so pull up a chair and keep reading...
Yes, you read the correctly. Read the book he was writing at that time, while he was actually writing it. Call it beta'ing a book before the book was even completed. Great idea? I think so, so keep reading...
What he did was; he wrote a chapter or two, then posted them to his blog for any and all to read. With each post he welcomed ideas and suggestions, as well as any corrections or continunity issues that might've been caught.
When I first saw this and realized it was a children's book, I immediately thought of my kids. My oldest was (is) an avid reader, and my middle was just learning to read, so I figured it'd be a perfect way to get them interested in reading and making the time reading the posts "family time" - something we could read and discuss together. Now, I have to admit Cameron was already a fan of Mr. Burton's, having read his book Scourge: A Grim Doyle Adventure, so he didn't need a lot of encouragement to get him excited. When I told him, he literally let out a "Squee" (don't tell him I said that, he'll be embarrassed people know he actually *squee's*) and asked when we could start.
We started immediately after the first post.
And read, and read, and read. Both of my children begging Mr. Burton for more! But then... the posts stopped. Disappointment furrowed their brows and I got weekly questions of, "Did he post yet? Did he post yet?" Then sad faces when I'd tell them he hadn't. They couldn't wait for the next installment.
Then we heard he wasn't going to make it a chapter book [as Scourge had been], instead, he was going to make it a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure type book. You should've heard screams of excitement that rang through the rickety, old walls of our house. (I'll admit I gave a little yip as well. There just aren't enough Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books out there, and I loved that style of book as a kid). I was told to tell Mr. Burton to hurry up! Told to say they couldn't wait another day for it. And I did, nearly on a monthly basis (sorry, David!).
So, you see, by doing this little test... posting his book to draw interest before the book ever was completed... he drew my children in and had them waiting with bated breath for more. He had them desiring for the next post, the next tid-bit, the next small morsel he'd post, just to know what was going on with Billy Bones. Why did he have to read the book, why was it stolen, and why did he have a hand in his pocket? What did it all mean?
Then to make it a choose-your-own style, it gave the kids more options... more choices, gave them the chance every kid wants - to be in charge! They ate it up!
So I'm sure you'll agree with me now, that, yes, Mr. Burton is a genius!
So, if you like this style book, or if you have kids that would love to read about Billy Bones, go to Amazon and pick up a copy NOW!
MY REVIEW from AMAZON:
For some reason Amazon wouldn't allow my daughter to post her own review (using my account), so I'll tell you (as her mom) what I thought of the book. I found it to be a great, quick read. It was funny, endearing, and mysterious.
Billy Bones picked his nose and died. Now he's in a world of the living dead, waiting to have his number called again. He can barely remember much of his past, and is given a book that he's instructed to read... typical kid, he doesn't read it and it gets stolen. Now his past is a mystery! Who was he? Why is someone coming after him and why did they steal his book?
Well... choose your own adventure and maybe you'll find out. Or... maybe you'll end up dead, the choice is yours but beware.
Both of my children, aged 11 and 8, enjoyed Billy Bones. They liked the fact they could choose which direction Billy was going to take and even got caught a few times themselves. I definitely recommend this book for 2nd graders and older, and intend on getting a copy for my daughter's classroom - she enjoyed it that much.
Here was Sonya's review:
This book is a lot of fun to read. I have been waiting for this book for a very long time and so happy it's finally here. Your kids will like this book a lot. This book lets you pick what happens and sometimes you can die! So be really careful what you pick. Me and my brother read it with our mom and she let us pick what happened. It took us four tries to get to the end, and we can't wait to see if there will be more books like this. I really like Goliath!