Where’s Waldo? Santa Spotlight Search By Martin Handford

Where’s Waldo? Santa Spotlight Search

Martin Handford, Author and Illustrator

Candlewick Press, Activity Book, Sep. 24, 2021

Suitable for ages: 5-10 +

Themes: Santa, Holidays & Celebrations, Interactive Adventures, Activity Books

Publisher’s Synopsis

Christmas is coming, and Santa with it—if you can only find him! Luckily, Waldo fans have a cool wand to help them spotlight the jolly old guy in the dark.

Shake your sleigh bells, pull on your holiday sweater, and join in the festive madness! These night-time scenes are bustling with Santas getting ready for Christmas Eve. With the help of a magic slider to light up one spot at a time, can you find some very specific Santas—like the one whose stocking is threadbare? Or the ones who are slimmer than most? And by the way, where are Waldo and all his friends—Wenda, Odlaw, Wizard Whitebeard, and Woof? Featuring super-challenging searches as well as puzzles and games, Santa’s Spotlight Search promises many hours of merriment for seasoned Waldo fans and new followers alike.

Why I like this book:

Who doesn’t love Waldo? He’s timeless and full of good cheer in this edition. He brings back fond memories of sharing the Waldo books with my daughter, many years ago. And, yes adults will enjoy this holiday book.

It is the perfect travel book to take along on long car and plane trips to visit relatives. There are hours of fun in searching for all the different Santa’s. 

The magic slider is an interesting addition to the Waldo books.   There are special dark windows in the book that are illuminated when the child inserts the slider tool — it lights up just like a spotlight and challenges readers. It’s a lot of fun!  Perfect holiday gift book!

Martin Handford, the man behind the mind-boggling Waldo books, began his career as a freelance illustrator specializing in drawing crowd scenes. Handford’s Where’s Waldo? books have been immensely successful, selling more than 72 million copies worldwide in over 50 countries and 30 languages, including Egyptian, Korean and Hebrew. Each Waldo picture takes Martin several months to draw.” I can’t tell you how pleased I am that Waldo has taken on a life of his own,” he says. “I’d like to inspire children to open their minds to explore subjects more, to be aware of what’s going on around them. I’d like them to see wonder in places that may not have occurred to them.” Martin Handford lives in England.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPBF) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

**With the holidays approaching, this will be my last PPBF post in 2021.  I will resume my PPBF reviews Jan. 7, 2022.

*Review copy provided by Candlewick Press in exchange for a review. 

Little Robin’s Christmas by Jan Fearnley

Little Robin’s Christmas

Jan Fearnley, Author and Illustrator

Nosy Crow, Fiction, Sep. 10, 2019

Suitable for Ages: 2-5

Themes: Bird, Animals, Caring, Giving, Friendship, Christmas, Santa

Opening: “Once upon a time, there was a little brown bird. His name was Little Robin, and this is his story.”

Synopsis:

It’s the week before Christmas, and each day Little Robin leaves his nest and gives away one of his seven vests to someone who is cold and needs it — a frog, a porcupine, a hedgehog, a mole, a squirrel, a rabbit, and an otter baby. Finally, on Christmas Eve, he gives away his last vest to a shivering mouse. Now it’s snowing and Little Robin is cold and alone.

Luckily, a certain magical man dressed in red knows about Little Robin’s selflessness and has the perfect present to keep him warm.

What I like about this book:

Jan Fearnley simply communicates the true meaning of Christmas in her charming  holiday tale about Little Bird, a compassionate and generous bird who gives away his warm vests to help his friends stay warm. Little Bird feels happy inside as he spreads holiday cheer. The joy of giving is a heartfelt message to share with children.

Little Bird’s journey is perfect for young children, as they will have fun guessing what will happen next. The text is lyrical, flows nicely and has a repetitive feel to it, especially with the seven-day countdown. But, the ending is a surprise.

Fearnley’s colorful and wintry mixed media illustrations are expressive and lively. They help build the tension of what is to come.

Resources: This is the perfect opportunity to show kids how good it feels to give to others less fortunate. Help your children pick out toys they no longer play with and clothing that is too small, and donate to a local toy/clothing drive. Let them pick out nonperishable food items at the grocery store to give to a local food bank.

Jan Fearnley is the award-winning author-illustrator of many books, including Milo Armadillo, and the illustrator of Never Too Little to Love. She lives in the French countryside with  her husband, two donkeys, five rescued goats, two Limousin hens, five cats — and any other stray that appears at the kitchen door.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Review copy provided by the publisher.

Dasher by Matt Tavares

Dasher

Matt Tavares, Author and Illustrator

Candlewick Press, Fiction, Sep. 10, 2019

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Animals, Reindeer, Circus, Nature, Santa, Christmas

Opening: “Life was not easy for the reindeer family of J.P. Finnegan’s Traveling Circus and Menagerie.”

Synopsis:

Dasher is a brave little doe with a wish in her heart. She spends her days with family under the hot sun in a traveling circus, but she longs for a different life. Dasher listens to Mama’s story of a “magical place” where she and Papa were free to roam under the glow of the North Star, and yearns to go there. One night a strong wind opens the gate to the circus pen. Dasher knows this is her chance to escape, so she runs into the forest with the North Star as her guide.

It’s not too long before she meets a nice man in a red suit with a big sleigh. The sleigh is heavy with toys for children and is pulled by a tired horse, Silverbell. Dasher offers her help. She likes the idea of making children happy.  Santa attaches her harness and before she realizes it, she’s looking at the ground beneath her and the stars before her. And, soon, with the help of a powerful wish, Christmas will never be the same.

Why I like this book:

Matt Tavares has crafted an original new holiday tale that focuses on the origins of Dasher, Santa’s first reindeer. It is a visual journey that will delight children and the young at heart. It’s message is perfect for the holiday season.

Everything about Dasher is gorgeous and elegant. Tavares’ has beautifully designed his book with luscious illustrations that resemble paintings in muted and soulful colors. The illustrations are done in watercolor, gouache, pencil, and pastel.  Some pages have double-spreads with minimal text and others have artwork on one side of the page and the story printed on a pure white page. The story is a little longer, but I doubt children will mind at all. They will be holding onto every word of this magical story. The front cover and the illustrations are simply stunning.

Tavares’ story is also about family and the meaning of home. Dasher is the youngest reindeer in her family and is filled with a lot of heart. She has big dreams, a love of family and a wish for a better life for her family. After she helps Santa with the deliveries, Santa brings her to her new home of snow and cold air — the place in Mama’s stories.  Even though is wonderful, Dasher “misses her family and wishes they could be together” under the glow of the North Star. I won’t spoil the story.

This enchanting story is sure to become a Christmas treasure that you will look forward to reading aloud to your family each year.

Matt Tavares is the author-illustrator of Crossing Niagara, Henry Aaron’s Dream, There Goes Ted Williams, Becoming Babe Ruth, and Growing Up Pedro, as well as Zachary’s Ball, Oliver’s Game, and Mudball. He is the illustrator of “Twas the Night Before Christmas, Over the River and Through the Woods, Lady Liberty by Doreen Rappaport, The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup, and Jubilee! by Alicia Potter. Most recently he wrote and illustrated the enchanting Christmas tale Red & Lulu.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Review copy provided by the publisher.