Back in my day we did everything in the proper order. You went to the movie, bought the action figures, and then waited desperately for whatever came next. Kids these days are doing it all wrong. And it’s fantastic.
Personal example #1: Pokemon. Everyone knows Pokemon is a card game, right? Not in my house. Pokemon entered our lives in the form of a chapter book tucked inside a box of picture books I bought at a yard sale. That was the book that prompted my daughters’ transition from picture books to chapter books.
They still read picture books and plenty of them. But they also devour chapter books thanks to the Pokemon Junior Chapter Book Series. From that they moved on to the TV series. They’ve still never played the card game.
Personal example #2: Harry Potter. Everyone knows you start with the books, right? Not in my house. I did try to read the first book to them when they were six, but they weren’t particularly interested. We started the first movie, but it was too intense for them, and they bailed. What it took to get them interested in Harry Potter was the Lego Harry Potter game for the XBox. They were in control, which made it a lot less scary.
They took to skimming through the books to try to figure out what was going to happen next in the game.
More recently, one of my daughters has recently started reading the first Harry Potter book for real.
When creating transmedia stories for kids these days, it’s best not to make assumptions about which medium is going to be the entry point.