This week marks the 20th anniversary of the iconic Pokémon franchise, with Saturday the 27th being the official “Pokémon Day” featuring in-store promotions and the long-awaited release of the original Blue, Red, and Yellow Game Boy titles on Nintendo’s eShop. With that in mind, let’s take a look at a trio of books currently available that are sure to please even the most discriminating Pokémon Master. And since you’re only as good as your last hit, each focuses on the most recent sixth generation of Pokémon titles.
For First-Timers: Pokémon Now You See It! Kalos Edition
When I first received a review copy of Now You See It! Kalos Edition, I assumed there’d been some unfortunate binding accident during the production process. The pages were obviously uneven, which certainly isn’t what I expect from the team at Scholastic. I quickly discovered, however, that this was by design.
Now You See It! is a novel take on the flip-book that’s perfect for introducing young fans to the world of Pokémon. The pages are cut in such a way that the position of your thumb determines which page you flip to next. For example, if you flip with you thumb in the top position, the book scrolls through all the notable basic Pokémon of the Kalos region–starters like Froakie, as well as Fledgling, Honedge, and the like. Flip with your thumb held mid-page, however, and you’ll see their stage 1 evolution counterparts–Frogardier, Fletchinder, Doublade. And if you move your thumb toward the bottom of the page, you see their stage 2 or mega-evolved forms–Greninja, Talonflame, Aegislash.
The corresponding left-hand page of each two-page spread provides basic stats (height, weight, type) as well as information relating each Pokémon to events of the popular animated series. While the language is fairly advanced, the combination of beautiful illustrations and fun flip action makes this one perfect for a shared reading experience.
For Junior Trainers On the Go: Pokémon Kalos Essential Activity Book
This activity book boasts 74 pages of games, puzzles, stats, and more than 150 full-color Pokémon stickers. Easily broken down linearly into the various regions of Kalos, it nicely pairs the continuing narrative of Ash’s journey with related stories and screens from the relevant cartoon episodes.
This is further expanded with regional Pokédex entries, trivia, crosswords, word searches, matching games, and more. The biggest draw, however, is the gorgeous stickers.
Ideal for long road trips or time spent waiting in the pediatrician’s office, it’s a hefty, solidly bound edition that’s really only missing one thing; some empty environmental pages for creative paly with the stickers would’ve further sweetened the deal.
Still, even with its premium $12.99 price tag, the Kalos Essential Activity Book is sure to please young fans of all stripes. And this is another one that gamer parents will surely enjoy sifting through with their geeklings.
For Older Kids, Adults, and Anyone Seeking to Catch ‘Em All: Pokémon Deluxe Essential Handbook
Unlike the previous two entries, my family’s prized edition of the latest Pokémon Deluxe Essential Handbook wasn’t provided by Scholastic–I didn’t even give them time to tempt me with a copy!
These handbooks are published regularly to try and keep up with the steadily growing list of new Pocket Monsters, and their spot-on blend of vital information (like a pronunciation key and list of possible moves) and concise flavor text means they’re treated with an almost biblical reverence in my house. I picked this one up as a stocking-stuffer for my oldest last Christmas, and it’s already beginning to display telltale signs of wear from his constant use.
With 432 pages listing facts, stats, and trivia for more than 700 Pokémon, it’s a fantastic reference for diehard fans and a fun diversion for those with even the slightest interest in the Pokémon franchise. It’s also the bedrock upon which my family built its go-to time-waster game–perfect for when you’re stuck in the pick-up line at school or find yourself waiting for your appetizers at a restaurant–“I’m Thinking of a Pokémon That Starts with the Letter…”
Review materials provided by: Scholastic