Our kids really do love books, but with a lot more time being spent at home lately, I sometimes like to mix things up with interactive style books. Candlewick Press has some great new titles for the Halloween season (it’s okay to enjoy them once October is over too), and I was super excited to get my hands on some copies for reviewing.
Where’s Waldo Spooky Spotlight Search by Martin Handford
Author: Martin Handford
Ages 5-9 MSRP: $18.99
Waldo is one of those characters who is starting to span generations of readers. I certainly remember scanning pages of a Waldo book trying to find him, his friends, and those tiny little scrolls. If you need a calm activity for your kids that doesn’t require a screen, Waldo just might be your answer. Parents who remember Waldo from their childhoods will find a nostalgic familiarity in the large action packed pictures where funny little details come to life if you just take the time to really look through the scene. Like previous entries in the franchise, this book has extra fun things to find in addition to Waldo and his friends. This book includes jack-o-lanterns in every spooky-themed scene as well as a special spotlight tool that helps eyes to highlight and focus on little sections at a time.
A, our fourth grader, had an easier time with this one but some things still give a solid challenge. Waldo’s dog has only his tail visible for example. He definitely needed to put a bit more time into looking for those. I love that the nature of the book forces him to slow down and pay attention to details, something he’s not always the best at.
W, our first grader, needed a little more help looking. I feel like he may skill up with these over time, first getting good at finding Waldo and his friends and then looking for the other challenges. It kept him thoroughly engaged so that he wasn’t hounding me for screen time and he was excited at the idea of other Waldo books being out there.
Overall, Waldo is a classic for a reason and sometimes it’s nice to go old school and have your kids engage themselves in an activity that doesn’t require a charger. There were several giggles as the kids noticed funny aspects of the sprawling scenes once they let themselves take their time and pay attention. For a nice hardcover edition with an interactive activity that’s likely to earn me hours of quiet time, the price is well worth it.
Ghostology: A True Revelation of Spirits, Ghouls, and Hauntings
Authors: Dugald A. Steer and Lucinda Curtle
Illustrators: Anne Yvonne Gilbert, Garry Walton, Doug Sirois
Ages 10+ MSRP $27.99
You may have come across the Ology books like Dragonology or Pirateology with their gorgeous illustrations and interactive pieces. We have several of these titles already, so I was certainly excited to see the newest edition to the collection. Ghostology is aimed at upper elementary school rather than the 8+ range of some of the first Ology books. There’s maybe not quite as many tables and tokens as there were in the predecessors, however there is an engaging mystery that unfolds over beautiful illustrations and pieces of evidence and notes. There’s even a fake ripped out page in one scene.
It was a bit much for W to handle, but A absolutely loved the book. The introduction letter sets a perfect supernatural scene and includes little cards that will spell out a message. Clever readers can decipher the message in order to fund a creepy surprise. A spent a good part of the afternoon pouring over these pages and finding all of the little clues. He loved this one more than the other Ology books we have and now I may have to see which ones we missed that may be along a similar vein.
Overall, stick close to the age range but advanced readers that love logic puzzles or mysteries should be able to handle this. These books are always so stunning and well thought out that we try to make an extra effort to take care of any pull out pieces included. At a MSRP of $27.99. I feel like these books make wonderful gifts for kids too.