Would you like a deluxe hardcover edition? Kickstarter campaign is coming up. Sign up to receive an e-mail when it launches!



Who is the author behind the innovative GameTales? Meet Nikola Raykov!

Game Tale

Game Tale





Game Tale


"And each path he takes, leading to twenty different endings, is a co...



The Library

Of course, the book will pique the interest of older readers, too. I for one spent this en...



Yaga's Valley

Do you know the first words that come to me if I try to explain how Nikola Raykov writes...



Grigor Gatchev, an author, blogger and a translator

It is fantastic, creative and amazingly suitable for children. I forgot I was supposed to r...



Game Tale


(this review is a translation from Bulgarian)
(original review can be found here)


You’re probably familiar with that tickling sense of anticipated delight, while the dark outside dances with the shadows in the corners, and you’re huddled in the warm embrace of your blanket, looking forward to the beginning of the story. Or you’re the one who reads the story, living the adventure together with the fascinated tyke. Evening after evening (and, for that matter, any other time of day), magic beckons you to throw the curtains of the fairy tale open and follow it. Yet a fairy tale, however much you may love it, always ends the same. Imagine then that you can read it in countless variations, the endings always different, the magic multiplying. Hmm ... it is possible, you know.

It’s possible because ... in our lovely country, in a town to the east, among the buzzing of computers and the magic of cartoons, a young dad came up with the brilliant idea to write a gametale, telling of one small gremlin’s big adventure. Of course, his 3-year-old muse cannot yet read and doesn’t know the letters, but Dad intends the book to make reading and learning and exploring the world more interesting, amusing, and exciting. He also means to let the likable gremlin take all decisions on his own: choosing a name, the adventure items in his backpack, or even the directions. Throughout these 48 chapters, Gremmy may run into large-hearted giants, cooking dwarfs, polite wolfs, and short-sighted bears, and share with them the treasures in his backpack in exchange for valuable lessons. And more importantly, he can pick his own way, without mom or dad’s prompts.

From Chapter One, where the gremlin lives, he can jump to Chapter Five, Six, or any other, without the nagging sense of missed directions. He can go back, make new choices, and even though he cannot read the signs, he can rely on his imagination. Undoubtedly the most important lessons that Gremmy can learn (outside of practical knowledge about real animals, colors, what is small and what is big, and how to distinguish between his right and left paws) are about life. Thus, the first lesson for our nuzzly-muzzly character will be that true happiness can be found inside himself, and that he doesn’t need anyone or anything to make a decision, and how important it is to not be afraid of choices: because at any moment, no matter which path you’ve chosen, you will experience wonderful adventures and meet fascinating friends. Later on, Gremmy will discover that every try is a success, that there’s no most most most beautiful thing because they’re all unique and incomparable, that he does not need to compete with anyone in order to live his life to the fullest. And ultimately, that nature, animals, and everything else in this world of bountifulness is connected, and how important it is to treat them with love and understanding.

For me, the life lessons in the GameTale really stand out, pointing out the tings that every parent should teach her children: to be independent, love everything, tolerate those who are different, never lose their inner child or goodness. This lovely book is more than a practical school aid or an invitation for entertainment. The fresh dialogue, authentically childlike, the wonderful illustrations, and the vignettes along the edges, adding an “antique” touch—they all make The Big Adventure of the Little Gremlin an exciting gamebook that has no parallel anywhere in the world. Are you surprised? Yes indeed. “It turned out that no one has ever written an original gametale for the youngest readers. Although a lot of gamebooks were published in Bulgaria during the 1990s (and some more recently), all of them were aimed at young adults. The situation in the other countries proved to be the same. The only interactive fairy tales appeared in English in the distant 1984, but they were retellings of classic tales. The Big Adventure of the Little Gremlin is the first story written deliberately for this audience. Which means it sets a precedent,” says Nikola Raykov, who penned the text and did the graphical design. The illustrations were drawn by international artists and purchased on the Internet. Then Nikola retouched and mixed them to produce the final versions.

Nikola Raykov does many other things as well. Here you can find some of them, along with “lost chapters,” more illustrations, and all sorts of delicacies—for everyone who doesn’t want the adventure to end just yet. But let’s get back to the GameTale itself. I only wish to add that while you read the book, you can start playing for real: sing the songs, boil the wondrous soup of Noselong, drink tea with short-sighted Granpa Bear, enact the roles, and generally mix real life and magical adventure in such a way that you get a magical life. A series of them, in fact. The ones that never get old.

It’s worth trying, isn’t it?

Please share this page in: