Stampy's Lovely Book by Joseph Garrett
|Stampy's Lovely Book by Joseph Garrett|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Why Don't You Just Switch Off Your Minecraft Game and Go Out and Do Something Less Boring Instead?|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 72||Date: October 2015|
|Publisher: Egmont Books Ltd|
|External links: Author's website|
If you still think of Stampy as the elephant in The Simpsons, you need to get with it. For one thing, TV is so last century – now it's all about Minecraft and other computer game worlds, and often second-screening between different new media at the same time. So why does this book from a Youtube star of Minecraft tasks, pranks and other activities, remind me of a certain TV programme that used to invite us to turn off and do something more active instead?
Stampy Cat is only elephantine in that he has had a mammoth 23 million different witnesses to his creations, and while they mostly regard Minecraft they do feature other computer games. On the whole they are creative, open-world titles, that can allow for something a bit more constructively immersive than the traditional kind. Or, as you(r) parents would say, something that wastes too much time on something that will never be real or amount to anything. To which the obvious response is this book.
And the tie-in website. Yes, as befits such a technical source you also need to download other things – there's a template for this, one for that, the design to ice a Stampy cake – and Stampy likes cake. He also likes building things, ganging up with his friends in challenges, and doing other things in the world of the games. But there's only so far that such a book can cover online, live time, technical things. So in amongst the data and memories of certain vlog episodes, you get suggestions of things to do with real people, and quite often, to my surprise, they're actually quaintly old-fashioned. They might be illustrated with Minecraft blocks and referred to with more technical options than we would remember them, but such simple ideas as paper/scissors/stone that need actual face-to-face interaction are brought to an audience that is supposedly never doing anything like that in the playground, let alone the lounge at home.
However, to me, even with this, the title seemed a little too inconsequential. A few too many posters and large-print check-lists and collections of half-ideas, added to a few one-use-only word searches, mazes and suchlike puzzles, don't disguise the fact that the rest either recaps what the fan will already know, or provides something they may not actually require. Just as the reason the videos exist in the first place is new electronic media, and they owe that very life to a different form of new electronic media, so I doubt if old media – talking to people IRL, playing with people ditto – has that much interest. Is this book not barking up the wrong tree, perhaps – and that while it's actually even made from trees as opposed to digital pixels? There are welcome ideas in here, but on the whole it felt slight. The Reithian, Why Don't You…? attitude fell short of being convincing for me, and the book left me feeling it was not providing something the Cat's creator can't more effectively convey in moving images.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
A slightly older audience will be lapping up a fellow Youtuber's book this Christmas, in the name of Username: Evie by Joe Sugg.
You can read more book reviews or buy Stampy's Lovely Book by Joseph Garrett at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Stampy's Lovely Book by Joseph Garrett at Amazon.com.
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