Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
Pokemon: The Haunted Gym is a book based on the Pokemon episode, "A Ghost of a Chance," which is part of the Johto League Champions season. The story that appears in this book was adapted by Tracey West. Pokemon: The Haunted Gym was published in 2002 by Scholastic, Inc.
On the front cover, this book is billed as being part of the "Learn to read with Pokemon" series. Reading through the book, it is obviously being aimed at children who are learning how to read. It's 32 pages long, and is a combination of text and pictures. The writing of the story has been simplified to make it easier for early readers to read the book; this is especially true when it comes to the dialogue. Unfortunately, by simplifying the dialogue, it does make it sound a little choppy. However, I understand that these dialogue rewrites needed to be made in order to make the book easier to read for its intended audience.
The pictures in the book are a combination of screenshots from the episode and art drawn for the book. However, there are no actual backgrounds for the drawings in the book; they just have a color for a background, so it makes it look like the character or characters on the page are floating in air. I really dislike not having a background for those pictures, since the screenshots on the next page do have backgrounds. It just gives the artwork a look of inconsistency.
And when it comes to the screenshots used in the book, they have a very noticeably blurry look to them. The blurry screenshots are in stark contrast to the drawings. I don't know how much children pick up on this difference, but as an adult, I find it to be rather distracting when I'm reading the book with my youngest child.
I give the author and publisher credit for taking the episode and writing it in such a way where early readers can read the story of an adventure they've seen on television at a level that is right for them. However, I wish the artwork for the book had a little more consistency to it.
Considering the age of this book, it's probably pretty much impossible to track down a new copy of it. However, if you have an early reader at home who is a fan of Pokemon, I would suggest purchasing a copy of this book if you can track it down. It's a book we first purchased when my middle child was an early reader, and he enjoyed it. His younger sister, who is an early reader and is also a Pokemon fan, has been enjoying it as well.
I wrote this review after reading a copy of this book that my husband and I purchased for our children.