This post is sponsored by Poptropica
When favorite online worlds become captivating adventure stories, parents rejoice. Suddenly the amount of time kids are spending in front of a screen can also motivate them to read, especially when the book they’re picking up is about Poptropica®.
Created by Jeff Kinney who we know as the author of the popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Poptropica is a virtual world enjoyed by millions of adventurous kids across the globe. For years, players between the ages of 7-13 have been exploring a growing chain of islands while traveling back in time, battling monsters, solving mysteries, and completing a multitude of quests awaiting them in this kidSAFE-certified adventure. Yesterday Poptropica lept off the screen with Poptropica: Mystery of the Map, the first in a brand new graphic novel series for children and already we’re clamoring for more!
About Poptropica: Mystery of the Map
While we teach our kids to not judge a book by its cover, the cover of Mystery of the Map will instantly appeal to Poptropica fans. Readers will gravitate towards the distinctive characters with their golf-ball like eyes and then maybe notice Poptropica above the title!
The graphic novel begins with a family hot-air balloon adventure where three new characters, Oliver, Mya, and Jorge, are quickly separated from their parents’ balloon because of bad weather. It turns out that their balloon operator, Octavian, is shady and not just because of his apparent five o’clock shadow! Armed with a compass, Octavian takes his passengers through a thunderstorm and to an island.
This unknown island is part of Poptropica, an unchartered group of islands whose existence is hidden from the rest of the world. The friends soon find out that the island is filled with extinct animals that provide plenty of comedic moments and a horde of angry Vikings. As they’re being pursued by Vikings, the three are also trying to repossess a magic map that they call “super advanced.” This paper map just isn’t any paper map! It’s like a cross between a smartphone and an Amazon Echo because the kids quickly discover that the islands move when touch and they can pinch and zoom but like Echo, it’s always listening and can react to their voices.
As they work to find their way off the island, Oliver, Mya, and Jorge discover something sinister is lurking on the island – something that threatens the very existence of Poptropica itself!
Poptropica fans will immediately recognize some familiar elements from the online world in the Mystery of the Map but with the hot air balloon being the main mode of transportation (instead of the yellow blimp), new characters, and an unsolved plot but you don’t need to be a player to enjoy Mystery of the Map. Those who pick up the book not knowing about the virtual world will enjoy this easy to read graphic novel that starts to solve the mystery of the islands of Poptropica.
The book is well suited for ages 6 and up and serves as a great motivator for those who love playing in the online world to sit down and read about their favorite virtual play space. Both superfans and those new to Poptropica will be clamoring for more adventures and mystery in book two that comes out in Fall 2016.
7 Reasons to Love Poptropica
There’s a reason why Poptropica receives 2.2 million web and 2.5 million mobile visits via the app per month. This free virtual world is popular among the tween set who comes to enjoy engaging quests, stories, and games in a safe online environment that consists of 35 different worlds, favorite characters, and endless adventures.
1. Play for Free
Whether on the computer or via the app (iOS, Android, and Kindle), it’s free to play Poptropica and there is plenty for kids to do without parents having to pay a dime. Of course, kids can explore even more with Poptropica Membership option where 1, 3, or 6 month plans that range in price from $3.95-$19.95 will buy players the following advantages:
There’s a lot to play for free in the world of Poptropica! However, kids can explore even more with Poptropica Membership that includes:
- Island Quests- Get early Access to Islands and play on the newest Islands before the rest of the world and get ALL Islands that includes 7 exclusive member-only Islands and dozens more!
- All Poptropica REALMS Features—Build Realms with no limitations! Create up to 20 Realms with access to all biomes and share your created Realms with all Poptropica players!
- Unlimited Costumes & Powers— Customize your Poptropican using any and all costumes and special powers in the Poptropica Store.
- Costume Closet— Don’t want to lose your special creations? Save up to 30 favorite looks in your very own costume closet.
- Photo Album— View all Island accomplishments in your very own Photo Album.
2. Enjoy Learning Adventures
One of the best things about Poptropica is that kids are learning through fun and engaging content that they love. Poptropica teaches kids about being safe in digital worlds through their interactions with others in the online space while requiring digital literacy skills, reading, and the ability to problem solve. Even though there isn’t a parent portal to know what kids are doing on the site, we can rest assured that they’re using gaming literacy to enjoy a story that rooted in factual history and teaches subjects like mythology, life as a secret spy, or an appreciation of art in an engaging way that is a refreshing change from traditional learning.
3. Play in a Safe Online Environment
There are very few places online where I’d feel comfortable sending a 5 or 6 year old but Poptropica is one of them. Safe chat features that use scripted responses that kids choose from with a single click eliminates the potential for online bullying, inappropriate language, and the sharing of any personal information. Besides some ads on the site, the game experience is relatively free of content that could lead kids away from the site by clicking. Poptropica doesn’t collect personally identifiable information from kids and has been certified by the kidSAFE Seal Program, an independent safety certification service that provides a seal-of-approval for child-friendly websites, virtual worlds, mobile apps, and other interactive technologies so we can rest assured that our kids are playing in a safe online world designed just for them.
4. Enjoy Endless Adventures with Favorite Characters on Different Islands
In addition to playing in worlds with the Poptropica characters, kids can click on the map and fly the big yellow blimp to other islands for game play with Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Nate, Charlie Brown, and more favorite characters! Having a variety of characters to play with on various islands provides endless adventures that keeps kids engaged.
5. Navigate Through Different Content That Appeals to All Kinds of Learners
Poptropica isn’t just an online world for kids to play in. Comics featuring Peanuts, Big Nate, Grand Avenue, Nancy, Over the Hedge, Rose is Rose, Soup to Nutz, Frazz, Meg!, and more are also available through the Comics tab. Celebrity Clips also provide fun tidbits of information about favorite authors in their own words. Look for Mary Pope Osborne, author of Magic Tree House, sharing a funny thing that happened to her as a kid, Jeff Kinney divulging something he never told anyone, Big Nate’s Lincoln Peirce revealing the most embarrassing thing that ever happened to him, a bad vacation that Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson) too, and more! There are always new areas to explore in the ever-expanding worlds of Poptropica where kids can read digital books and comics, watch movies, and compete in head-to-head friendly competitions.
6. Play Anywhere, Anytime
The ability to play anywhere, anytime is a blessing as a curse as we want our kids to put down their digital devices and pay attention to the world around them but because not all screen time is the same, parents will appreciate being able to let their child enjoy learning adventures that problem solving skills through Poptropica on iOS, Android, and Kindle.
7. Poptropica was Created by Jeff Kinney!
Poptropica wants your family to be among the first to read Mystery of the Map and is offering a fabulous prize pack for one lucky reader that includes:
- Poptropica: Mystery of the Map book
- 6-month subscription to Poptropica online game
- Poptropica Blimp
- Poptropica plush toy
- Visit the Poptropica Facebook page
- Follow Poptropica on Twitter
- Find them on Instagram @PoptropicaCreators
I was compensated for this post and received the items listed in the giveaway to help facilitate my review but all opinions are my own and based on feedback from Thomas and Emily. Amazon Affiliate links are included in this post. Images courtesy of Poptropica.