Booksurfers: A New Way to Read the Classics

There is a new, really cool digital book set available solely for Kindle called Booksurfers.  The author is David Gatward and they were just released on June 14.  Booksurfers is about four children who are kidnapped and forced to find artifacts from different childhood classics.  Who knew that reading for school could be so exciting…and terrifying?

Right now, there are two classics available: Treasure Island and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  The children: Jake, Ryan, Becca, and Harriet get tossed into the action of Treasure Island and the Land of Oz, and have to bring back items to Dr. Crookshanks.  Their parents’ lives are at stake if they don’t fulfill Crookshanks’ instructions.  This is a really cool way to get kids engaged in classics and provides a much more hands on, interactive experience.  It is also a good way to get them to try out the Kindle too.

In Treasure Island, the kids must bring back the actual treasure map.  They risk their lives  and experience the adventures the famous classic holds.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is structured the same way.  The kids become the characters in the book and have to find Dorothy’s ruby slippers, or lose their parents.

One aspects of both of these books that makes them so interactive, is that you can click into the part of the actual book that Jake, Ryan, Becca, and Harriet are experiencing.  So, this is the closest you get to being a character in the book yourself.  The writing style is very conversational and modern, so is should be easy reading for all ages.  Whether you are in school, or an adult who wants to revisit the famous books of your childhood.

More books and adventures to come.  I wish these were offered when I was in school.  What classics would you like to see made into an interactive adventure book?  I think Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn would be good candidates.

Robert Louis Stevenson – A Selection of Free Kindle Classics

The Kindle Store has a number of timeless classics available for free on the Kindle and Kindle DXTreasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is one of them.  It is an exciting tale of treachery and adventure for both children and adults.

Jim Hawkins is the official protagonist of the book.  He is a young boy who gets swept along on a pirate treasure hunt with Billy Bones, Long John Silver and several other interesting characters.  Long John Silver outshines everyone else in the story as he is involved with a group who plot to kill everyone on the ship and take the treasure themselves.

It has been awhile since I’ve read the book.  Since it is free for the Kindle and has such raving reviews, I think I need to sit down and read it again.

Many are familiar with Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but very few have actually read the book.  It is a quick read.  The Kindle edition is free.  Once you read it, you’ll find that there’s much more to the book than the dual personality comparison we all like to reference to.

Dr. Jekyll creates a potion that turns him into a different man.  This is Mr. Hyde.  The best way to describe him is “the devil on our shoulder.”  The story is told from the point of view of Mr. Utterson, a friend of Dr. Jekyll’s.  There is a lot of emotion and grief in this story, as well as a disturbing plot that takes many twists and turns.

One reviewer sums up the book’s theme well: “It’s a book on morality and what would happen if we gave in to every evil thought we ever had. The theme is timeless and so this book will remain a classic.”

A couple more books by Stevenson that are lesser known, but still excellent, are The Black Arrow and KidnappedThe Black Arrow is set during the War of the Roses.  Sixteen year old Dick Shelton is thrust in the middle of the war and forced to battle pirates, an evil priest and even Sir Daniel Brackley, his legal guardian.  His ultimate goals are to become a Knight and rescue his true love.  You’ll find an little bit of everything: action, mystery and romance all mixed into one book.

Kidnapped is another action packed novel that portrays a hero who outlasts treachery and deceit to claim his rightful inheritance.  This time, the hero is David Balfour. After his father’s death, he seeks to claim his inheritance from his evil uncle.  Balfour gets caught up in a number of crazy events including a murder mystery throughout his adventure.

Stevenson does an excellent job of portraying the language of the time: pirate vernacular, Middle age dialect and Scottish dialect.  If you have never used your Kindle’s look up tool, now’s your chance.