Dino Trouble

Little Simon. (Arcade World: Bk. 1). Feb. 2022. 144p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781665904650; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781665904643.
Gr 2-4–Travis and Journey take on a mysterious arcade’s sweet dangers brought to life in this fast-paced adventure. The two best friends and rival gamers play every genre of video game out there, including online games during a whole year “when no one could really see each other.” When the arcade machine for “Dino Trouble” brings its creatures and dessert-themed trappings to the real world, the two friends protect each other while enjoying the rush of completing each level. Travis, who is white, narrates the book, though the plot beats are also led by Journey, who is brown. Glowing colors and pixelated objects provide contrast for the virtual elements entering the real world. Action is generally of the nonviolent variety, more focused on escaping danger through agility and flying than having to attack anything.
VERDICT Turning pages is how young readers will play this game of reality-bending survival, with a teased sequel on the way.

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