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For Christmas 18 months ago, I picked up a jigsaw book for each of my children. I picked up Stick man for my youngest, and then Ben 10 for my eldest who was 4 at the time. He was just getting into Ben 10, and as he was quite competent at doing jigsaws by this point, I decided that he would probably find this really enjoyable.
I can't remember now how much I paid for this but it was from the Book People who usually have books on offer. This is currently only available on Amazon secondhand, from a penny with postage.
The book is hardbacked, and approximately A4 in size. It is just over half an inch thick. The front cover of the book looks really attractive. It is mostly green in colour, and features Ben 10 prominently with smaller green aliens, then lots of small jigsaw pieces, with 5 that are colour showing a small picture of the faces of the characters in each jigsaw.
There are 5 jigsaws in the book. Each jigsaw is 24 pieces and is about 80% of the size of the book. Jigsaw books have an indented part to the page so that the jigsaw pieces sit in the indent, and when you complete the jigsaw the page thickness should be the same all across the page so the pages close easily without damaging the spine of the book. The indentation in this particular book is only a small amount, about a millimetre. This means that it is very easy to get the pieces out when you want to do a jigsaw, but also, when you are trying to store the book when not in use, the pieces have a tendency to fall out and go everywhere, and it is really frustrating as you are trying to tidy up and 5 lots of 24 jigsaw pieces fall out on you.
The pieces are quite thin. We haven't actually bent any while playing with this book, but we haven't played with it anywhere near as much as I thought because the jigsaws are quite tricky to do. All 5 jigsaws have white backgrounds to the pieces, which means when all the pieces are out, it can be quite tricky to work out which piece goes with which jigsaw when the colours on the front are similar.
The selection of characters is quite good. Jigsaw one shows Ben in casual clothes he wears in the show, with two aliens behind him. This one is not too bad to do as the background colours are quite different to the aliens, and each piece has a picture on it too.
Jigsaw 2 is the character Four Arms. This is slightly more tricky than the first one as the bottom edge and top edge are hard to fit in as there is very little character on the pieces, just dark blue sky, and a hole in the ground with cracks running through the earth.
Jigsaw 3 is the alien Heatblast. He is surrounded by what looks like flames, so a lot of him and the background is really tricky. He is black with yellowy stripes, whereas the background looks all yellows and oranges and blacks like a fire. I find this really tricky to do as an adult, so the kids find it pretty impossible.
Jigsaw 4 is Upgrade. This is similar in difficulty to the 2nd jigsaw. The alien has green and black arms and this means that you need to match the pattern to do the jigsaw, which again is very tricky. The character features in all of the jigsaw pieces, so if you work from the edges in they can actually do this one.
Jigsaw 5 features XLR8, an alien who can run really fast. In this picture, there is a lot of blurring to indicate he is moving quickly, and this also proves quite tricky for my boys to figure out in their head.
This book is recommended for children aged 3 plus. I find this to be far too young due to the complexity of the jigsaws. I find that my boys are usually able to do jigsaws aimed at children older than their age. Even though the picture is printed on the pages the level of difficulty has been very frustrating for the pair of them. I would say nearer 6 would be the better age recommendation for it, even though 6 year olds will manage normal 24 piece jigsaws with no problem.
I have been tempted to throw this one in the bin so many times as it is frustrating for me to use, let alone the kids. Even now picking it up to write my review, I find that the pieces have dropped out and I need to redo it before putting it back on my book shelf absolutely flat so they don't fall out again. I really would not recommend this book as you need so much patience to use it, and most boys in my experience would not have the patience to deal with it.