Putting The Fun In Fundamentals - Reading In Neopia
Hello! My name is Siouxsanna, and I'm a Ruki who loves to read!
Reading is clearly considered important in Neopia. Right there on your pet's Quick Reference, in their intelligence rating, is the link to the list of the books they've already read. It might be a long list, it might only have a few books on it. Some pets might never have read anything at all (poor things).
Are there practical reasons to read books to your pet? One is that a small number of battledome items require a certain intelligence score for a neopet to use them. If you have a battle pet, then why not be ready just in case one of those items turns out to be useful to you? The second reason, and probably the most well known, is that if your neopet reads enough they can be awarded an honorary badge or even trophy either for the Neopian Book Award or for the Booktastic Book Award.
While it's great for your neopets to have a goal to strive towards, maybe those awards are a little intimidating for beginner readers. "Wow!" the Books Read page says to you as soon as you have read only a tiny fraction of all the books in Neopia, that many books is "quite a lot" and "maybe your Neopet could be in the running for the Neopian Book Award!!!" Well, maybe, yes, one day, but then you eagerly take a look at the Book Award page and... oh. Disappointment strikes. Over 2300 books for the honorary award? Over 2800 to get a trophy? Scary numbers, that keep climbing every time a new book is released. And some books can cost millions of neopoints, or even tens of millions!
Who knows how many owners have retreated from those intimidating numbers, defeated before they even tried? After all, no one can see your pets' Books Read pages but you, right? Does it really matter if they don't read?
Well, I'm here to say, please don't turn your back on reading! It doesn't have to be a grind in pursuit of a distant, apparently unreachable reward. Lookup trophies and obscure battledome items are not the only things that might motivate you to read to your neopet. Let me tell you about some of the other excellent reasons that exist, and to recommend a few books, all of which can get you started at very affordable prices*.
Lots of owners like to customize their pets, code fancy lookups and write elegant, exciting petpages, all to build up a wonderful character for their pet. But have you ever thought about what your pet has read? Does it match the character you have carefully crafted for them? What if your neopet is described as a great scholar, but has read only a handful of books from dailies? Clearly, their claims of scholarship are a fraud! Maybe it's time to hit the shop wizard and pick up Encyclopedia Neopia, Petpet Biology, Elementary Magnetism, and Korbat Calculus. After all, you wouldn't want other neopets to wonder if your academic character is really an undercover ninja spy, would you? (Unless your scholar character IS secretly an undercover ninja spy -- in which case they should check out Becoming A Spy or Pirates vs. Ninjas: The Novel.)
So, what is your neopet's profession? Whatever they do, the books of Neopia probably have it covered. Your Pirate pet might want to discover The Secret of Treasure Island, or how to engage in Pirate Small Talk. A chef can find a whole range of useful cookbooks, from the simple Toast Treats, via Geraptiku Recipes to the more advanced Exotic Ingredients of Shenkuu. (109 Cupcake Recipes should keep them busy for a while!) Musicians are well catered for with texts such as A Nimmo Music Extravaganza. Martial neopets can learn about Defence in the Battledome, Tonu Battle Tips or Karate for Beginners. Practitioners of magic could check out Witchcraft Spells or Evil Spells -- or stay ahead of their enemies by studying their Witch Hunting Techniques. Math Flash Cards and Language Flash Cards are invaluable for Neopia's dedicated teachers.
Catering to those too young for a job, Baby neopets have their own selection of books. The Gallion Colouring Book, Hissi Alphabet, or Beginners Spelling Scroll are all highly suitable for younger neopets as they take their first steps into the wonderful world of books.
Does you pet have any hobbies? As well as reflecting what a neopet does for a living, books can round out their character and give them another dimension, reflecting their wider interests. Are they Hooked on Fishing, or maybe they make Bubble Sculptures? Or if they collect plushies, then The Plushie Coffee Table Book could be just right. They collect snowglobes instead? The Definitive Snowglobe Guide has it covered! If they don't collect anything yet, Koi Collector has ideas and tips for getting started. Perhaps they'd enjoy Shell Crafts or Model Building? Books are available for even the most specialist hobbyists, such as The Bucket Book, Fun Tree Facts or The History of the Origami Warf.
For sporty neopets, books can help them learn about the Altador Cup Through the Ages, or maybe they could help you when you're playing some of Neopia's many games, by studying Lets Play Deckball, the Meerca Chase II Game Guide or Counting Babaas. Books like Tombola Tips even cover Neopia's dailies. Arty neopets are likely to want to find out more about Watercolours and You, while green-fingered neopets might be excited by the idea of Planning Shenkuu Gardens. Well-informed neopets couldn't do without Neopian Times Issue 3.
Or maybe reading itself is their hobby. Neopia has fiction for every taste. Exciting stories like The Grarrl Who Crushed Tyrannia, Adventures In Space or Sunset On Mystery Island could be their thing, or spooky books like Haunted Mynci. Would they enjoy a tear-jerker like, The Lonely Elephante or possibly a gripping tale like Glurp? And of course, everyone should read Illusens Novel. (I have -- it's very good.) Or perhaps they'd be fascinated by the puzzles in Lenny Crosswords or Acara Acrostics?
What about petpets? Wouldn't it be nice to know that your neopet takes their petpet owning responsibilities seriously, and has learned about Slorg Care, Mazzew Grooming, or looking after My First Babaa? They can research in advance which aquatic petpet they want with a copy of The Rock Pool and You: Your guide to Mystery Island Petpets. If they have a robot petpet, they might want to know about Repairing Your Petpets.
Even your neopet's personality can be illustrated by their choice of reading material. Are they frugal? What would show that better than if they'd read Shop Wizard Tips, Saving Your Neopoints and the Budget Shopping Guide? An outgoing pet would probably love to pick up some Flotsam Party Ideas, while a shy, awkward pet might come out of their shell a little more after you help them try to Learn Social Skills. Meticulous groomers could find their needs met by Tusk Care For Moehogs or Gnorbu Mane Care. A trendy neopet would surely want to have a copy of Neohomes and Gardens to hand -- or perhaps Potato Sack Fashions!
Do they like to travel? The adventurous Neopet can find out what to expect in Maraqua from the Underwater Tour book, or learn some Mystery Island Jungle Lore before their trip. They might want to know how to Speak Tyrannian or how to identify Tropical Flora and Fauna. Neopets visiting The Lost Desert should make sure to keep a copy of the Desert Survival Guide handy, while Map Reading is a useful skill for any traveller.
Some pets love to celebrate holidays! A plethora of books exist to help them do just that. They can learn about Decorating with Lights, build up a sense of excitement with the Holiday Colouring Book, read a selection of Halloween Ruki Tales, or find out more about Kari's life in The Negg Faerie Diaries.
Books can be made special to your pet in other ways. What if whenever your pet uses a paint brush, drinks a morphing potion, or experiences a lucky visit to the Secret Laboratory, you mark it by reading them a book about their exciting new species or colour? There are plenty of books to chose from. Nimmo - Now and Zen, Bruce Blues, Top Tuskaninnys, the Kiko Pop-Up Book, A Kau Summer, Snot My Fault, the Zombie Handbook or My Life As A Sponge are just a tiny sample.
Books can also form a record of the history of your pets beyond just their colour and species. Book are often given out as prizes across Neopia. Read a pet their Advent calendar or Negg Festival books, and books given out during plots and events like the AC cup, and you have a permanent reminder right there on the Books Read page of their life in Neopia. Memories fade, but From Beyond: A Guide to Ghostly Gifting or The Way Windmills Work are forever.
Finally, and maybe the best reason of all to read to your neopet, there is... love. You could put your neopet to bed by reading them a new story every night. Why not start today, with Maraquan Bed Time Stories? Keep at it and, who know, maybe one day that elusive Book Award trophy won't feel quite so far away.
Thank you (for reading!) and I hope I'll see you in the library someday soon.
* At time of writing, the majority the books mentioned here could be bought for less than 1000np.