Based on Poptropica, Jeff Kinney's (of Diary of a Wimpy Kid fame) online role-playing game, this graphic-novel spinoff envisions three friends who find themselves marooned on a mysterious island.
One fateful day, Asian Mya, white Oliver, and Latino Jorge find their hot air balloon purposefully steered into a rough patch of weather by its rogue captain, Octavian. The group crash-lands on a strange jungle island, which they quickly learn is populated by odd and often dangerous beings and creatures, such as horn-helmeted Vikings and vicious saber-toothed tigers. The trio discovers that they are in possession of a magical map that follows their commands. However the inhabitants of the island—including the fearsome Viking leader Erik the Red—are hunting them, and Octavian, who was separated from them after the crash, wants his map back. Fans of the online game will immediately recognize the wide-eyed, minimally detailed characters and the lush island scenes of Poptropica, although those without any prior knowledge should be able to jump right in without any alienation. Bright, animated colors and zippy cartoonlike action make for an easily accessible first offering that provides just enough exposition to hook young readers and keep them seeking out subsequent adventures.
A peppily paced adventure yarn sure to delight fans of the franchise, both old and new. (Graphic adventure/fantasy. 6-12)