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I loved 'Where's Wally?' books when I was a kid - infact I remember regularly sitting in bed searching for Wally when I was supposed to be sleeping! So when my daughter picked up a couple of 'Where's Wally?' books in a shop a year or two ago, I didn't hesitate in buying them.
'Where's Wally?' was created in the mid eighties by British illustrator Martin Handford. It is also published in the US and Canada as 'Where's Waldo?'. Wally is a man that does a lot of travelling and wears a stripey red and white jumper with matching bobble hat and glasses. There are a number of different Wally books available and they all come in different sizes and format (there is even a 'Where's Wally?' app!). In each book the aim is to find Wally and his friends hidden in each picture (it began with just Wally but other characters have since been added).
The first and original 'Where's Wally?' book (which was originally published in 1987 and updated and re-released in 1997) has a blue cover which is covered in illustrated people and a gold ring around Wally who is hidden amongst them, along with the book title which simply reads 'Where's Wally?' on a postcard. In the corner it states 'Book 1' to avoid confusion (there are 6 books in this particular series). It is a paperback - the pages are quite thin but the cover is pretty durable and can be wiped clean.
The first page has a space to write who the book belongs to and also has a list of characters who you have to find that appear in each picture. Characters include Wally, Wenda (who looks similar to Wally but wears a skirt and has long hair), Wizard Whitebeard (a wizard with a long beard and stripey stick), Woof (Wally's white dog who wears a stripey jumper) and Odlaw (who looks like Wally but wears yellow and black stripes, instead of red and white stripes). There is also a list of 'lost' objects which can be found in each picture. Objects include Wally's key, Woof's bone, Wenda's camera, Wizard Whitebeard's scroll and Odlaw's binoculars. There are also 25 'Wally watchers' that feature in different pictures throughout the book - Wally watchers all look different but wear the same red and white stripey tops and bobble hats.
There are 12 different scenes in total and each scene covers 2 whole pages. The book is very large so the pictures are extra challenging (but don't strain your eyes like the smaller versions do). Scenes include at the beach, ski slopes, camp site, railway station, airport, sports stadium, museum, at sea, department store, fairground and safari park. On each page is a postcard written from Wally to the reader. He makes references to different scenarios in each scene which gives you something else to spot (E.g. 'Greetings Wally followers! Wow, the beach was great today! I saw this girl stick an ice cream in her brothers face and there was a sand castle with a real knight in armour inside! Fantastic! Wally'). There is also a checklist in the back of the book for each scene which requires you to find even more different scenarios (E.g. A dog on a roof, a flying saucer, three clowns, a unicorn, a collapsed tent') - there are about 250 different scenarios to find throughout the book. There is also one extra character that appears in each scene - we are yet to work out who it is!
There is certainly a lot more than Wally to find and much more than I remember as a child. This is a great book for capturing children's concentrations and keeping them quiet for a long time! This book has come in extremely handy for me during long car journeys, waiting rooms and when I need some peace!
Each scene has hundreds of people in and most of them have red and white stripey 'red herrings' to make things harder. I find the easier character to find is usually Odlaw (probably because he wears different colours and stands out more) and the hardest character to find is Woof as the only part of him that you can see is his tail! The lost objects are also really tricky to find. The illustrations are great and include lots of funny scenarios which my daughter particularly likes! My daughter is now 5 years old and she is very good at this book - she can spot all of the main characters and can usually find all of the Wally watchers, although she does struggle with the lost objects. I am the wrong side of 20 and still love this book, I can't lie! We enjoy going through the book together but she also likes to do alone. In my opinion it's an entertaining book for the whole family and is one that would be enjoyed by all ages and either sexes.
The RRP of 'Where's Wally?' is 6.99 (but you can usually pick it up cheaper) and it's available from most book stores and book schemes. It is great value for money as there is so much to find and by the time you get to the end of the book you will have forgotten where everything is and can go through it again and again!
Book number one of the classic set is perhaps the most simplest of them all but seeing as it has been around for so many years I would think with this one they were just testing the waters as far as how Wally would take off. And take off it did becoming a global sensations these Wally books really took the world by a storm. Jack is lucky enough to own six of the Wally books and this is the book he probably looks at least because of the fact he found it so simple where comparing it to the others he has.
==Price and Availability==
If you want to buy this book on its own, the RRP is £6.99p. I however wouldn't recommend buying it singularly as when purchased in a set you get a much better deal per book. The Book people do a set of 6 books all held in a nice plastic Wally bag for £10 and this works out to around £1.66p per book and that makes it a true bargain!
However having had a look online you can pick up a second hand Wally book for next to nothing on sites such as ebay or Amazon. Even for a new one on Amazon the price is a little cheaper at around £4 so it is worth buying it online rather than going to a major book store as you will more than likely pay over the odd for it on the high street.
==Look and Design==
Seeing as how we have a large collection of the Wally books we can instantly recognise this as being the first one because the pages seem to be not filled up quite as much as some of the later published books. That in itself makes this book easier to do than the others and slightly less fun. But there is still plenty to find in each double spread page scene though and this means that there is still a great deal of fun to be had.
The paperback book is on the large size which means the pictures although contain small people are still clear and easy to look at without having to get out a magnifying glass! There is so much going on in each scene that it really is amusing to scan over the pages as a lot of time funny things are happening like someone falling over or water about to fall onto someone's head which really does make Jack laugh out loud.
Wally, Wenda, Wizard Whitebeard, Odlaw and Woof are hidden in each of the scenes of the book and although easier to pick out than other Wally books still takes a trained eye, especially Woof the dog as it is only his tail that you can see. The small items such as the binoculars, the camera, the scroll, the bone and the key are still sometimes tricky to find but once you have got the hang of places they might be there are a bit easier to pick out.
The drawings are all done by hand which is a really nice thing and must have taken ages for the chap who did it to do each scene as there is so much going on. There are scenes such as a camp site, a sports stadium, a railway station and a beach plus a few others in the book and all these different places make for a ton of different things to keep a look out for. Along with the characters and their accessories to find there is still the page at the back which has a list of other things that need to be found in each scene to add even more fun to the book and gives it a deeper playability.
Although I don't think this is the best Wally book you can get, it is a nice addition to the set and does make for a nice bit of fun. There is plenty to keep any child busy for hours and it is a book than can be picked up and looked at over and over again. The drawings are much more simple than the later book and for an experienced Wally watcher such as Jack this book is quite easy to complete.
It is however well worth the money as the enjoyment factor is very high. Children of all ages would enjoy this book and I have to say that both Himself and me get quite competitive at trying to find all the little items which are sometimes rather frustrating if you can't pick them out. Be prepared to have crossed eyes by the end of the day if looking at this book for long periods as the small details will often send you over the edge!
All in all I think this book is worthy of a 4 out of 5 stars and the minus mark being because it is one of the more simple Wally books which means it does take less time to complete. However it is a good starting book and probably more suited to younger children or less experienced Wally Watchers!
I do hope that this has been of some help/interest to you
many thanks for taking the time to read.
In 2008 my son received a book token for world book day. Thinking back I think he must have been at nursery then so I would imagine that it was given to him there. The book token could be used in exchange for one of a few different books which had been produced for the occasion and my son chose the "Where's Wally?" book in miniature form. The book is identical to the larger version of the book only it is much smaller in size.
For those who may not be aware the Where's Wally books feature a series of double paged pictures which are very busty with lots of people and things in them. There are lots of things to look at in the pictures and within the pictures is Wally with his red and white stripy jumper and black glasses hiding. You have to find him in amongst everything else which is going on which can be quite tricky!
Within this book there are twelve different scenes in which you have to find Wally. What is good about these books is that on each page not only is there just Wally hiding but Odlaw, Wizard Whitebeard, Wenda and Woof the dog too so you have various characters to find. On each page you have a postcard from Wally which highlights various other things to look out for on that page and some of the items can be tiny so it is quite a challenge. On the back pages of the book there are checklists which can be used to find even more things in each scene and so there is a lot to do really in this book which was effectively free for my son.
My son has just turned six and still goes back to look at this book regularly. As yet he has just scratched the surface of the book despite having the book since he was three years old! At the moment he just looks for Wally and his friends and so there is a lot of scope for the book to be used more in years to come. I believe the recommended age for these books is around seven or eight years old so he is around the right sort of age now really although I have to say even when he was younger he would give it a good go looking for the characters.
My son and I also sometimes take the time to look at this book together with us bioth searching for characters and sometimes having a race to see who can spot their character first. This may sound unfair but I find the book as challenging as what my son does! It is a nice activity to do together though for some quiet one on one time and we both do really enjoy it.
The book has also been excellent for just popping in my bag when we are travelling or going somewhere where I feel my son will be bored as I can put it in my bag easily with it being so small and it is always there as an option for him. I would definitely say this book is suited for children aged around five to ten years based on my experience and whilst my son got it when he was three he hasn't got the most out of it yet and so I think he will continue to use it in the future.
This book can be purchased from amazon in this mini size for £2.38 or in full size for £3.49. It is very much recommended by my son and I as a great rainy day activity or boredom buster!
Thank you for reading my review!