Feed the Beast

Capstone/Stone Arch. (Open World Squad). Jan. 2024. 72p. Tr $25.99. ISBN 9781669031703.
Gr 4-6–Four 13-year-old friends team up in Open World, an online video game where they battle fantastical creatures and complete quests with their avatars. While the friends game, they encounter real issues, such as caring for younger siblings and taking care of dinner while mom works late. This illustrated high-interest title empowers siblings to collaborate inside and outside the game. Educators will appreciate the social-emotional lessons about positive teamwork, self-monitoring, using creativity to problem solve, breathing, and the Taking Care page devoted to mental health websites. Part of the text is in-chat messages, and illustrator Laughead’s dynamic art resembles “Teen Titans Go!” Bold text is used for onomatopoeia, and there’s a glossary with pronunciations and discussion questions for reading groups.
VERDICT A sci-fi/realistic hybrid designed for middle schoolers where helpful real-world advice is provided in a context of video gaming.

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